Skip main navigation

Introducing the big four cognitive practices of mindfulness

Watch Craig provide an overview of 'The Big 4' cognitive practices of mindfulness.
CRAIG HASSED: Mindfulness sheds a lot of light on how the mind works and perhaps– sometimes, how it doesn’t work that well. And so there are things that we can actually reflect on that are very consistent with mindfulness, can help us to understand that more and perhaps to deal with some of the stresses, and frustrations, and anger, or fear, or anxiety, and even depression that can be a part of day-to-day life. So, we’re going to have a look at what I like to call the ‘Big 4’ cognitive practices of mindfulness– cognitive meaning thinking. What can mindfulness tell us about how the mind thinks and perhaps how it could think better?
We do tend to overuse the mind, and in a way, mindfulness is not about complicating that, but by simplifying it, and the best simplification is just step out of default mode and back into day-to-day life. So the ‘Big 4’ cognitive aspects of mindfulness are ‘perception’, ‘letting go’, or non-attachment, ‘acceptance’, and ‘presence of mind’.

Watch Craig introduce the big four cognitive practices of mindfulness (perception, letting go or non-attachment, acceptance and presence of mind).

Each of these cognitive practices can have a very powerful effect on how we think and feel, hence it can be good to explore these both in our meditation practice and also in everyday real life settings – especially those that challenge us.

For if we can shift our thinking about a difficult situation, we can often start to manage this in a more effective and less emotionally reactive way.

Each of videos that make up this section contain some important life lessons that are relatively simple and common sense. However, they are not always easy to put into practise, especially in the heat of the moment when we are feeling some strain.

We strongly recommend taking your time with this section of the course, watching each video more than once if that works best for you.

While you’re making your way through the materials, you may also find it helpful to read the video transcript, journal abstract or comments made by the mentors or other learners to help consolidate the information and make sense of it for yourself.

This journal article is included to help demonstrate some of the research in this area, but we do not expect you to purchase a subscription to read the full paper.

Hopefully, just reading the summary provided in the free abstract will be sufficient for those that are wanting to know more about these studies.

This article is from the free online

Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education