Mindfulness, The Most Effective Techniques - Connect with your inner self to reach your goals easily and peacefully
How much do I want to read more? 8/10
Small and smart book about mindfulness.
What's the difference between successful people and unsuccessful ones?
the answer is their minds.
It is the window through which we experience everything—ourselves and our world - but we rarely stop to consider the window itself. What is it made of? What is its nature?
Your mind shapes your action in the world, which in turn defines the contour and direction of your life. If you want to change your life and find success, you'll have to work with your mind. You'll have to work with its emotions, doubts, hopes, fears, deceptions, inertia, and energy. So it's worthwhile to get familiar with your mind and useful to make friends with it.
The mind is something like a reservoir of thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and intentions powered by emotional energy. That energy can either be caught up pointlessly in bad habits and hangups, or it can be harnessed in the pursuit of your goals and propel you to success.
- They adapt to and embrace change. Successful people don't just let changing circumstances come and kick them in the butt. They don't bury their heads in the sand and refuse to adapt to the turning of the tide. Instead, they understand the shifting, impermanent nature of things and meet changes with an inner attitude of acceptance and a willingness to learn and adapt.
- They grab the reins of destiny. Successful people do not feel resentful about the past. They don't blame their parents, bosses, coworkers, ex-lovers—whoever—for their problems. Instead, they accept what has happened in the past as over and done with and look to the future. Without waiting for a lucky break to come along, they take charge of their own lives and shape them according to their desires.
- They have an attitude of curiosity. Successful people are interested in new things and new ideas. Their approach to the world is that it is a big, fascinating place that has many lessons to learn. They understand a key truth of human existence: the realm of things we don't know is infinitely bigger than the realm of things we do know. They stand with one foot in the known realm and the other in the unknown and always keep their eyes open.
- They understand interdependence. Successful people know they don't accomplish anything alone. Everything you do, whether you receive direct help or not, depends on the efforts of others. Successful people understand this and have a sense of gratitude to others. Because they cultivate good relationships with others, they always find assistance when they need it.
- They have persistence and a courageous spirit. Successful people don't let defeats, setbacks, and disadvantages keep them from pursuing their goals. They are “happy warriors” who, instead of getting discouraged, push past obstacles with vision, focus, and the outrageous determination of conquerors.
Chapter 1. Mindfulness
“paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally.”
- “Paying attention…” At any given moment, the mind has its attention on something or another. But there are different qualities of attention. Sometimes attention is focused and steady, sometimes scattered and unstable. Mindfulness belongs to the focused and steady kind of attention.
- “On purpose…” Specifically, mindfulness is purposeful attention. If you're mindful of something—the breath, let's say—it's because you purposefully directed your attention there. So we're not talking about random, scattered attention. We're talking about focused, intentionally directed attention.
- “In the present moment…” There is no other moment in which to do anything. Mindfulness does not indulge in memories of yesterday or hang on to happy nostalgia or bad feelings from the past. Mindfulness does not get entangled in hopes and fears about the future. Mindfulness is about cultivating an awareness and appreciation of the here and now, of the richness of your present experience.
- “Nonjudgmentally.” Especially in meditation, mindfulness is not about accepting or rejecting anything. Whatever thoughts, feelings, or perceptions come up in the context of mindfulness are not regarded as good or bad, but as simply part of the colorful tapestry of mind.
reduces what psychologists call “rumination”—that is, compulsive thinking with negative affect. It regulates emotions and improves concentration, working memory, and cognitive flexibility.
Eight weeks of MBSR techniques bring about development in the immune profile systems of individuals with prostate or breast cancer, corresponding to a reduction in the symptoms of depression.
Mindfulness and Meditation
All you need is the willingness to sit on your own butt and spend a little time getting to know your mind.
the mind that accompanies you everywhere you go. I mean your own thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, doubts, interests, hangups, and confusions.
your own moments of clarity, your own attention and intelligence.
They are simply the interior part of your lived experience. Meditation is the practice of getting more familiar with them, of deepening your understanding of how your mind works and how its different moving parts condition your experience of the world—for better or for worse.
Common Objections to Meditation
It sounds boring.
A good analogy is learning to play guitar. There's a lot of boredom in the process. Learning scales? Let's be honest, it's not so exciting. But you have to do it if you want to get really good.
Usually we find it so irritating that we become restless and start looking for any occupation or distraction to relieve ourselves. Or we ignore the boredom and plug into whatever work we're doing.
Meditation doesn't offer much escape from boredom, actually. Instead, we're just left with the only option of sitting with boredom and feeling boredom's energy.
I don't have the time.
just ten minutes a day for something that's scientifically proven to reduce stress and enhance your cognitive abilities.
you'll actually save time by completing tasks with greater focus and efficiency.
My mind is too busy to meditate.
Thoughts are not your enemy in meditation; they are just part of the energy of the mind. Just sit down with yourself, and your mind will naturally come to rest on its own without any interference on your part. And you will find out what a joy that can be.
I can't sit still.
if sitting cross-legged doesn't work for you, you can find another position. You can sit in a chair or on a couch. You can even lie down, if you can manage not to fall asleep in that position.
I don't want to be alone with my mind.
Most of the excuses not to meditate boil down to this: it just freaks us out to sit alone with our minds, without any option for escapism and distractions. By avoiding meditation, we avoid ourselves.
Whether we meditate or not, we have to live with ourselves in any case.
I don't know how to meditate.
Just start with the basic practice, and the rest will come in time.
You can approach meditation with the attitude of a scientist or an explorer. Come to meditation with an attitude of curiosity and openness, and you'll find that it's a richly rewarding experience.
Getting Into a Meditation Practice
Walk and notice.
just to take a short walk around your neighborhood and try to notice things you've never seen before.
paying attention on purpose. Look for things you never noticed before.
I guarantee there will be no shortage of such things, and you might be quite surprised by some of them.
Stop and listen.
Wherever you are, just stop what you're doing and listen to whatever sounds you can hear.
to become more aware of the sounds that we usually just ignore.
Check your emotional state.
At any point in time during the day, you can stop what you're doing and check how things are going inside your head and heart. How do you feel right now? What kinds of emotions are occurring? Happiness, anger, sadness, irritation, amusement, love, desire? Get specific. Don't just think “anger,” but try to identify if it's indignation you're feeling, or maybe rage, or bitterness. The ability to be precise about your emotions is called emotional granularity, and it's a good skill to have, because it helps with regulating your emotions.
Whatever you're feeling, try to regard it nonjudgmentally. Don't get caught up in judging it as good or bad. Think of your emotional state as like the weather. You're just checking to see what it's like out there. Is it calm or stormy? Rainy? Windy? Cloudy? Sunny? Hot or cold? Whatever the weather is like, it is constantly changing. Likewise, your current emotional state will give way to another one.
Pay attention to small things.
you can pick up something small and observe it with close attention. It can be a rock, a blade of grass, a flower, a handful of soil—choose whatever. Look at it closely. Notice all its colors and shapes, the texture of its surface. Smell it. Run your fingers along its surface. Is it rough or smooth? Moist or dry? Maybe it's hard, soft, waxy, or brittle.
Listen to music.
Just listen very closely to the sounds.
The idea is just to experience the music fully as a pure instance of sound, without judgment.
Enjoy your favorite drink.
Breathe the nose in deeply and really smell it properly. Take a sip and hold it in your mouth for a few seconds, allowing yourself to fully experience the taste and notice the subtleties of the flavor.
Do some yoga.