Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition


Address correspondence to Scott Bishop, Psychological Trauma Program, Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, 455 Spadina Ave., Suite 200, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5S 2G8. E-mail: scott_bishop@camh.net


There has been substantial interest in mindfulness as an approach to reduce cognitive vulnerability to stress and emotional distress in recent years. However, thus far mindfulness has not been defined operationally. This paper describes the results of recent meetings held to establish a consensus on mindfulness and to develop conjointly a testable operational definition. We propose a two-component model of mindfulness and specify each component in terms of specific behaviors, experiential manifestations, and implicated psychological processes. We then address issues regarding temporal stability and situational specificity and speculate on the conceptual and operational distinctiveness of mindfulness. We conclude this paper by discussing implications for instrument development and briefly describing our own approach to measurement.