The Self Proclaimed Solitary Buddhist: Mindfulness Practices for Beginners


Although mindfulness meditation is all the rage these days, most of us have little time for a formal practice.

Studies have found mindfulness meditation has many benefits.

  • Reducing Depression
  • Reducing Pain
  • Increasing Creativity
  • Accelerating Cognition
  • Settling the Mind

Mindfulness meditation doesn’t have to be a chore in it self. There are quick and easy ways to add a little mindfulness into your busy everyday life.

  1. Walking Meditation – Easiest done somewhere with few distractions, but you can try this one anywhere you will be walking for as little as ten to fifteen minutes. As with most forms of mindfulness, it’s about focusing your attention. Start with how your feet feel touching the ground with each step, then you can begin focusing on your breath or maybe move attention around to each part of your body. The key is to develop a relaxed state of attention. When your mind wanders bring it back without judging yourself.
  2. Eating Meditation – Practice a little mindfulness meditation while you eat. When you take that first bite, really notice how it taste. Take notice of how it smells or maybe the textures in your mouth. You don’t want to do this the entire meal. But as a tool to focus your attention on the present moment.
  3. Small Break – Turn away from the computer, tablet, or smart phone. Just sit for awhile noticing the sensations in your mind and body. How do you feel? What can you hear? Just being present in the moment. Let wandering thoughts go, bring your focus back to the present. Just be.
  4. Mindful Listening – We get used to all of the commotion of life that we have a tendency to tune out things in our surroundings. ie; If you live in a city, there might be sirens, trains, the rustle and bustle of people.  In the country, trees swaying about, or maybe birds singing. What can you hear right now? As an exercise you can put on some music, try to not let your mind wander. It may remind you of something or someone, bring your mind back to the music. Try not to focus on the lyrics just take notice of the flow of the music.  
  5. The Small Things – Even small things we do on a daily basis can become an opportunity to experience this moment. Brushing you teeth, your mind may be thinking of a thousand other things. Instead try to focus on the task in hand. Take notice of the taste of the toothpaste, and how the bristles feel on your teeth. Showering or bathing is yet another opportunity to focus your mind on your senses instead of worries and useless thoughts.
  6. The Breath – One of the most well known techniques to focus on the moment is paying attention to your breath. Simply experiencing your breath in and out, it’s like push ups for your mind.

Hopefully these exercises will help you develop a mindfulness practice. By no means is this list all there is.  

A quote from mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn,

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

So don’t feel limited to these exercises. Feel free to mix and match, explore the internet, find the ones that fit you and your life the best.

Almost any activity can be incorporated into your mindfulness practice, and “Practice Makes Perfect.”


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