Build Your Mindfulness Muscle

4 min

Build your mindfulness muscle. Practice mindfulness.

One way to practice mindfulness is to adopt a short meditation practice every day:

1. Take a comfortable seat

Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet. Sit comfortably (you don’t have to do a lotus position if you don’t want to) and sit up straight if you can.

If you’re sitting in a chair, set the bottoms of your feet on the ground. Sit up straight, but comfortably (stay in the natural curve of your back). Rest your hands on the tops of your thighs.

2. Set a timer for five minutes,

If you’re a beginner, there’s no reason to take on the difficult task of meditating for a long time.

3. Focus on your breathing

Breathe intentionally, in, then out. Start by focusing on your breath going into your nose and out of your mouth. Follow the sensation of the air as it fills your lungs.

The idea is not to take huge breaths, or to breathe in any particular way. The idea is to really observe your breath, to feel it and nothing else.

4. Notice when your mind wanders

Your mind will wander. That’s a fact. When it does, observe that your mind is wandering and return your attention to your breath.

This is the hardest part of the whole process. You have to be kind to yourself when your mind wanders. Instead of thinking “My mind is wandering, I stink at this,” think “I’m thinking about picking up my kids from school this afternoon. I’ll refocus on my breath.”

When your timer ends, you can simply stand up and go on with your day.

Being mindful isn’t just about having a meditation practice. You can be mindful simply by paying attention to your morning cup of coffee, or by focusing on your breathing for 30 seconds at a time. But meditating can build your mindfulness muscle.

Time for a quiz.

Malia attempts to meditate for ten minutes before her work day starts. However, she finds herself thinking “how much time is left?” What should she do now that her mind has wandered?

Quiz 1 of 1

What should Malia do now that her mind has wandered?

End her meditation practice for the day.
Concentrate on ignoring her thoughts.
Observe her thoughts, then refocus on her breath.
Let her mind wander more until she gets back to meditation.

The correct answer is C:
Observe her thoughts, then refocus on her breath.

Mind wandering is normal. It’s just an opportunity to focus on the present (in this case, breathing).

Tomorrow morning:

Take five minutes to practice building your mindfulness muscle tomorrow morning. If you get distracted, just refocus on your breath.

Build Your Mindfulness Muscle

Video Transcript

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