Toward an Operational Definition of an Informal Mindfulness Practice: A Scoping Review and Stakeholder Consultation
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The current definitions of informal mindfulness practice proposed in the literature are inconsistent and obscure. It has been described by several studies yet, there has been no effort to establish the defining principles the constitute informal mindfulness practice. Therefore, there is no widely agreed on definition of informal mindfulness practice. Using a scoping literature review methodology, this research provides an overview of the various types of definitions of informal mindfulness. A content analysis of the scoping review identified 35 definitions that could be allocated into five categories. These five categories were: exposure of formal practice, intentionality, everyday activities, continuity, and awareness of breath. In addition, mindfulness teachers, as participating stakeholders, were interviewed about the extent to which these definitions have utility for their practice and teaching. Information from these interviews helped to determine to what degree these definitions need to be modified. The stakeholders agreed that “exposure to a formal practice” and “intentionality” are crucial components to informal practice. The stakeholders felt the remainder of the categories needed to be altered or expanded on. Lastly, the stakeholders expressed that “attitude” is a fundamental element that needs to be included in an operational definition of informal mindfulness practice. There was no current definition identified in the literature that included all of the fundamental elements identified from the research and stakeholder consultations. Therefore, the stakeholders provided an alternative operational definition of informal mindfulness practice. The researcher selected one definition from the five alternative definitions, that clearly represented all the fundamental facets identified by the scoping review and expressed by the stakeholders.