Today I learned how to "score" my own mindfulness and track how I'm improving over time.
I found the details in a scholarly article titled Improvement of mindfulness skills during mindfulness-based cognitive therapy predicts long-term reductions of neuroticism in persons with recurrent depression in remission.
Did you stop reading after the third or fourth word? It's OK--I almost did too. But I promise you, this gets interesting.
To track participants' levels of mindfulness, the study's authors used a "five facet mindfulness questionnaire," or FFMQ. It's a psychological measurement that ranks five facets of mindfulness:
- Acting with awareness
- Nonjudging of inner experience
- Nonreactivity of inner experience
Because the internet is a beautiful place, you can take the FFMQ test online. I did, and got a score of 3.4 out of 5:
I've made a conscious effort to become more mindful in 2017, and even though I've been meditating almost daily, I feel like I haven't made much progress.
The FFMQ gave me insight into exactly where I need to improve. Twenty years of journal keeping and more than ten years of cognitive therapy have left me capable of describing my inner states with ease. I'm no longer quick to judge myself. But staying focused on a single task and working with intention continues to be challenging. And according to the study, improvements to "acting with awareness" yielded the biggest improvements in mood.
While I don't have any new secrets to maintaining mindfulness throughout the workday, I now have even greater incentive to try. And if coworkers catch me holed up in some corner of the office with New Age music blaring from my iPhone, I can say, "I'm working on long-term reductions in neuroticism. You're welcome."