What are the Traits of a Mindful Person?
Mindfulness can help you cultivate certain distinct personality traits. Research shows that for people who already have a combination of some of these traits, mindfulness may be easier to learn. Everyone has their own experience with mindfulness, so if any of these traits resonate with you, let us know in the comments!
A large tenet of mindfulness is responding to events, rather than reacting to them. It is rarely useful to go with our first impulse when stressed. Often, it is far more helpful to take a step back and assess the situation before responding. This can lead to mindful people being steady and less reactive.
Steadiness can also come from having a healthy stress response. In our current world, it can be far too easy to allow stress to take over and govern our lives. People who cultivate mindfulness have ways to manage and disperse stress. Rather than being overset or ruled by their anxieties or worries, mindful people have the time and energy to be steady and take on problems as they come.
Being aware of the present moment is a common theme in mindfulness. It is no surprise that cultivating this trait during practice leads to increased presence in all facets of life. Presence is commonly overlooked, but it can be deeply important in our lives and our relationships. How often have you driven somewhere only to realize upon arrival that you have no memory of the drive? Or have you ever been listening to a story someone is telling only to zone out and miss a crucial part?
Presence is crucial in showing up and being actually there, in the moment, for the people we interact with. It’s also an important trait because it allows you to experience the moment as it’s happening, and enjoy it, rather than constantly wondering if there’s something better out there or ruminating on the past or the future. Presence is all about focus, and it is a trait that you can foster through mindfulness meditation practices.
Openness here means open to the world and its possibilities. Open people are curious and explorers, trying to better learn the world around them. Mindful people understand that their experience is not ever going to be the only one out there. Consequently, they are better served listening to those with different experiences than they would be trying to center their own experience. We each only have our perception of the world, but that does not preclude learning from those around us.
In many mindfulness practices, you can learn to take in the world as it is, without trying to change anything. The first step in understanding the world or your life is perceiving what is around you, and openness allows people to begin doing that.
Mindfulness asks us to take in the world as it is. That can include accepting reality even when it is not what we may desire and finding ways to adapt or to change our circumstances if possible. It is not always easy to roll with the punches or to accept parts of our reality we dislike. Sometimes, however, it is necessary.
Being adjustable is not the same thing as being a pushover. It means that you are able to reevaluate your actions based on the truth of a situation, rather than continuing on old information. As you live and experience more things, your understanding of the world will change. It is necessary to be adjustable to new inputs and ideas. But that is not the same thing as accepting what you shouldn’t. Adjustable people can still change what they need to. They just do so working within the context of what reality is, rather than fruitlessly trying to change what cannot be changed.
Saying mindful people are ambitious may seem like a contradiction. And that’s fair. A common stereotype of a person who has a mindful practice is someone who is laid-back, crunchy, maybe a bit granola. And this can be true, but it isn’t always. “Mindful” isn’t a personality type or a descriptor. Mindfulness is something any of us can practice.
The reason why ambition and mindfulness are connected is that they both connect to a flow state. People who are ambitious are often focused, good at balancing their time and effort to achieve their goals, and aware. Also, working to cultivate a practice does show ambition, even if it is not the traditional, capitalist definition of what ambition should look like.