Being Mindful:  Emotion


Mindfulness is a practice of becoming more intentional with one’s actions.  Vital aspects of mindfulness are:  awareness, intentionality, participatory in one’s own life, and being more present and alive in each moment.

With respect to emotion it’s about  becoming more mindful to---aware of---the emotions we experience, as we are experiencing them.  The skill of mindfulness of emotion is a big help for sensitive people.   Mindfulness skills are practiced in everyday life and help regulate emotions.

In DBT, mindfulness is called CORE MINDFULNESS since it is the core, the hub, around which all the other skills center, intersect, and interrelate.  

Observing “what”

Just observe/notice the environment you are in, as well as any THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, EMOTIONS, and EXPERIENCES without reacting to, or judging them.  With respect to emotions:


  1. Do not take action when you experience an emotion.  Say to yourself, “I NOTICE THAT I FEEL shame/sorrow/love”
  2. Pay attention to the input from the five senses:  SIGHT, SOUND, TOUCH, SMELL, and TASTE


Describing “what”

Once you have OBSERVED the environment, THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, EMOTIONS, AND EXPERIENCES without reacting to, or judging them, then it’s time to use words to DESCRIBE these things.  If your emotional role models have taught you to ignore or belittle your emotions, you may be very well practiced at not paying attention to your emotions/experiences.


Participating in “what”


As a practice to repeat over and over, the mindfulness skills helps you increase the degree to which you participate in your own life and experiences (including THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, EMOTIONS).  You can fully engage in every experience without loving or hating it.  Simply participate, moment by moment.  Let yourself be a part of what is happening to you without obsessing over it or being overly self-conscious.  Let go of worry thoughts such as “how do I look t others?” or “Am I doing it as well as so and so?”  Don focus on the concerns about perfection or on perform for others.