Mindfulness: The Most Effective Techniques: Connect With Your Inner Self To Reach Your Goals Easily and Peacefully

Mindfulness: The Most Effective Techniques: Connect With Your Inner Self To Reach Your Goals Easily and Peacefully

by Ian Tuhovsky

Mindfulness is a life-changing guide to acquiring the mental qualities we see in all successful people. The daily practice of mindfulness is the method by which these tools are acquired. Mindfulness brings success, happiness, contentment, and inner resourcefulness for dealing with challenges in life. The author writes in a clear and simple yet engaging and persuasive manner that captures the reader’s attention and demands that they get to know their own minds if they want to be successful.

Summary Notes

Make Friends With Your Mind

“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. It goes without saying that successful people got that way by doing the latter.”

Your mind is the window through which you experience and perceive everything. It also shapes the actions you take in the world and, in turn, defines the direction and flow of your life. When you make friends with your mind and become familiar with its unique emotions, doubts, hopes, and fears, you will be much more likely to find your version of success.

Actions to take

Understand Mindfulness and What It Can Do For You

“Mindfulness decreases stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, emotional reactivity, and fatigue. It also reduces what psychologists call ‘rumination’—that is, compulsive thinking with negative affect. It regulates emotions and improves concentration, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. It even increases relationship satisfaction.”

Mindfulness is a way of being that can help you understand and make friends with your mind. Mindfulness also offers a variety of benefits, like reducing stress and negative thinking.

Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally.” Let’s break this definition down to give us a better understanding.

First, “paying attention” means that the mind has its attention on something. There are different qualities of attention. For example, sometimes, attention is very focused and steady, while at other times, it is scattered and unstable. Mindfulness belongs to focused and steady attention.

Next, “on purpose” means that you are paying attention to something intentionally because you choose to. The “present moment” is the here and now. It does not include any thoughts about the past or the future. Finally, “nonjudgmentally” means not to label or view thoughts, situations, or feelings as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ but simply as a small piece of the colorful tapestry of the mind.

Actions to take

Learn Tools to Foster Mindfulness in Your Life

“The centerpiece of the practice of mindfulness is meditation.”

The most valuable tool to bring mindfulness into your life is meditation, but mindfulness also takes place outside of meditation. Mindfulness can happen anywhere and everywhere because we can pay attention to everything. In fact, we are always paying attention to something, but it may not always be on purpose, in the moment, or nonjudgmentally.

If you’re new to meditation, it may feel awkward and uncomfortable at first. And it may take some time for you to get into it. Even if you’re an experienced meditator, there may be times when you don’t want to meditate or need a quick mindfulness technique. This is a normal part of integrating meditation into your life. The good news is that there are tools you can use in these moments.

Each of these tools will bring your purposeful attention to the present moment and ask you to be nonjudgmental in your observations. These practices also help you hone skills (like the ability to hold your attention on one thing) that will add value to your formal meditation practice.

  1. Walk and notice: Take a short walk outside and try to notice things you’ve never noticed before. You may be surprised by how much you can notice for the first time in the surroundings you see every day.

  2. Stop and listen: Wherever you are, stop what you are doing and listen. There are noises that escape our daily notice.

  3. Check in on your emotional state by stopping what you are doing and feeling what is inside your heart and mind: The ability to precisely name your emotions is called emotional granularity. This is a skill that can be honed. Remember not to be judgmental. Your emotions are like the ever-changing weather, and you’re just checking the forecast.

  4. Pay attention to small objects: Pick up something small and look at it closely. Notice the shapes, smells, colors, textures, weight, etc., and notice how you feel while observing.

  5. Listen to music: Just sit and listen to the music without paying attention to the lyrics or genre. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not. Do your best to experience the sounds without judgment.

  6. Other practices: enjoy your favorite drink with all of your senses, practice some yoga, or download an app that guides you through mindful practices.

Actions to take

Reframe Your Beliefs About Meditation

“Once you get to the [meditation] cushion, you'll find there really never was anything to worry about. 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.”

There are a number of reasons why people find it difficult or feel resistant to meditate. Challenges present themselves to everyone: beginners and seasoned meditators alike. In fact, you are bound to meet difficult challenges in your meditation journey, and that’s okay because meditation is meant to challenge you and make you grow.

Below are the most common beliefs that may stop you from incorporating meditation into your life.

  1. Meditation seems boring. While there is definitely boredom in meditation, that’s the point. Meditation won’t save you from boredom. Rather, it will force you to sit in boredom and restlessness until those feelings are accepted and relaxed.

  2. Meditation is too religious, spiritual, or “woo-woo.” How can this be when you don’t need to be spiritual or religious to meditate?

  3. Meditation takes too much time. Even 10 minutes a day will enhance your well-being and cognitive abilities. If you want to bask in these benefits, you need to make time to incorporate meditation practice into your life.

  4. Your mind is too busy to meditate. This is a very good reason to meditate. You don’t need to force your mind to relax because thoughts are not the enemy of meditation. Sit with yourself, and your mind will naturally rest without interference on your part.

  5. You can’t sit still. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It is natural to fidget a bit. The key is finding a position that works best for you.

  6. You don’t want to be alone with your mind. When you avoid your mind and meditation, you avoid yourself. Even if you avoid yourself, you still have to live with yourself no matter what.

  7. You don’t know how. No one knows how to do anything before they try it.

Actions to take

Practice Meditation Daily

“Meditation gives me a chance to rest and get to know my own mind more deeply. It's a gesture of compassion, an act of making friends with myself.”

Meditation is the practice of getting familiar with your thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, doubts, interests, and confusions, as well as deepening your understanding of how your mind works. To gain understanding through meditation, you must spend some time refining your attention so that it can rest for a length of time without distraction.

To start your practice, take 5-10 minutes out of your day. Find a comfortable place to sit with your back straight but relaxed. Feel the pressure and weight of your body on the surface you’re sitting on. This brings the body and the mind together. Take a deep breath into your stomach and let out a big sigh. Pay attention to the sensations in your body without judgment or changing anything. Turn your attention to your breath (you can count or pay attention to the sensation) and notice the sensations in your body. Any time your mind starts to wander, bring your attention back to your natural breath without judgment. Consistency is key to results because meditation is a skill that must be practiced.

Actions to take

Nurture a Nonjudgmental Awareness to Work With Negative Thoughts

“With time, you'll find that this nonjudgmental attitude becomes more and more a part of you, a part of the way you relate to your thoughts and emotions. You'll develop a sense of space. Your mind, instead of feeling claustrophobic and cluttered, will feel open, relaxed, and spacious. When negative thoughts come up, there will be a sense of distance. You won't be gripped by negativity, nor will you feel a compulsion to reject it. Instead, you'll know how to allow negativity to just hang out in its own space, until it settles down all on its own.”

A nonjudgmental attitude is an essential piece of mindfulness (paying attention on purpose in the present moment without judgment) and becomes more natural with practice. A nonjudgmental attitude allows you to watch your thoughts, feelings, and experiences without labeling them “good” or “bad.” This attitude is necessary when practicing meditation and overcoming some of the challenges that hold you back from meditating daily. It’s important to know that there is no such thing as a “bad” meditation session.

A nonjudgmental attitude is beneficial because it allows you to witness your thoughts, feelings, experiences, and behaviors as they are in everyday life as well as in your meditation practice. Practicing a nonjudgmental attitude over time can help you understand yourself and your mind more deeply. It can also help you nurture emotional objectivity, which is the ability to separate yourself from the energy you feel behind emotions and thoughts. This quality of the mind is a hallmark of all successful people. The skill of emotional objectivity allows you to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and negative thinking.

Actions to take

Set Yourself Up For Meditation Success

“There will never be a time when you're not encountering some kind of difficulty in your [meditation] practice because the whole point of the practice is to challenge you and make you grow.”

There will be challenges that arise inevitably in your meditation practice. This is to be expected, but the good news is that there are solutions to many common challenges.

One common challenge when meditating is experiencing pain in the body. This can make it difficult to sit, especially for an extended period of time. To accommodate this, you can adjust how you sit to meet your needs. This may include sitting in a chair, lying down, not sitting cross-legged, or making small adjustments during your practice as you need to.

Another challenge is sleepiness. To overcome this challenge, you can: get some rest, meditate in the mornings, have a cup of tea or something lightly caffeinated before your practice, and avoid eating a heavy meal before meditation.

Aside from this, other challenges people often voice are hearing too many thoughts or experiencing boredom and/or strange sensations during meditation. In such cases, it’s important to just sit with these feelings and watch them nonjudgmentally. These challenges don’t need to be changed; they won’t hurt you. You can let boredom, thoughts, and sensations exist because they have a lot to teach you.

If you really want to succeed in your meditation practice, other steps you can take are to practice consistently (and schedule it into your day), be gentle and nonjudgmental with yourself, be patient in your pursuit of results, and enter meditation without expectations.

Actions to take

Embrace the Attitude of Success Generally

“Successful people have more of something —more courage, maybe, or more persistence, more inspiration—and that something is certain qualities of mind.”

Mindfulness is a practice that can help you develop a successful mindset. This is something that all successful people have in common.

Successful people embrace change and understand that change is the only true constant in the world. This mindset allows successful people to accept experiences, thoughts, feelings, and people as they are, nonjudgmentally.

In addition, successful people take charge of their destiny because they accept their own agency and responsibility for directing the course of their lives. This mindset comes from a mindful, deepening familiarity with their mind.

Successful people are also very curious. The mindset of curiosity turns challenges into opportunities for growth and learning. Successful people appreciate interdependence and value being intentional with the relationships that they nurture. This mindset ensures that they are surrounded by people who share their goals and values and treat them with kindness and respect. Successful people have the courage to be persistent and go after what they want. Practicing mindfulness can grow these mental attitudes within any human.

Actions to take

Continue Your Mindfulness Practice Through Pain and Turbulence

“Meditation in hard times is about the willingness to expose yourself to life, to make yourself vulnerable again and again, without the fear that it will destroy you—because it won't. Whatever experience you have, no matter how good or bad will be followed by another experience, and another, and so on.”

Sometimes life presents really difficult events and tragedies (family deaths, massive disappointments, huge losses, etc.). During these times, negative emotions can morph into absolute turmoil or complete numbness. These events can often leave you hopeless, a bundle of nerves, and stumbling through personal catastrophes. This can happen to any of us. We never know when a disaster may strike.

Mindfulness can’t fix everything, and meditation won’t take away your pain, but it will center you, bring you closer to your innate wisdom and the most dignified part of yourself, and help you navigate through life’s difficult events with courage and presence. This is why it is important to maintain your practice. While everything can go wrong, you can still return to your meditation every day and show kindness to yourself.

There are some tools that may help you through challenging times. The first thing to do is maintain your daily meditation practice and let it be a place that you can return to when you need to recover your equilibrium.

Actions to take

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