What Mindfulness is,
the Best Way to Develop it
and How to Overcome Common Pitfalls
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is really going mainstream. It seems like almost every day there’s a new mindfulness book popping up on Amazon. But what is mindfulness, really? Is there more to it than slowly eating a raisin or paying attention to your breath?
Before you get started on your journey, it helps to have a clear understanding of what mindfulness actually is. There’s a lot of opinions and definitions floating out there.
In the video below, I walk you through what I think is the clearest and most practical definition of mindfulness: an alert, receptive, equanimous observation of the present moment.
Watch the video (an excerpt from my Mindfulness Crash Course) for more details:
What’s the Best Way to Develop Mindfulness?
Now that you’re clear on what mindfulness is, what’s the best way to go about developing it?
In a nutshell, meditation is the fastest and most effective way to build your mindfulness skills. But not just any kind of meditation. It needs to be specifically tailored so that it trains your ability in all the key components that make up mindfulness (I described those components in the video above explaining what mindfulness is).
Mindfulness meditation allows you to isolate and train the components of mindfulness in a safe environment, so you can develop your skill to a level that can be usefully applied in your daily life (which, after all, is the whole point!).
The video below (taken from my Mindfulness Crash Course) will show you how to do a very effective form of mindfulness meditation:
And here’s a 15 minute guided meditation that you can download (right click and choose “Save Link As…”) to help you get started with the technique described above.
What’s the Best Posture to use While Meditating?
There are many different postures that are suitable for the mindfulness meditation I describe in the videos above.
In fact, once you’ve gotten some experience with this practice, you can and should be able to meditate in just about any body position!
Here’s some more information about sitting postures for meditation to help start you off:
Dealing with Common Issues
Once you start meditating, you’ll probably run into a few common issues that most beginners face.
The first is, how to deal with distractions, which I cover here:
Another is, how to handle pain or other uncomfortable sensations that can arise during your practice:
And, the big one that trips up most people: what to do with all those thoughts constantly zinging through your mind?
How to Make Meditation a Daily Habit
If you’ve decided that mindfulness meditation is worth a regular investment of your time (and I really hope you do), your next big hurdle will be making daily practice a habit.
Here’s some suggestions that have helped many of my students and may help you, too:
- Find a block of time when you can meditate every day of the week. Ideally, it will be at the same time each day.
- Use a trigger to remind yourself to practice. A trigger is an activity that you already do every day, such as drinking your morning coffee, brushing your teeth, putting on your PJs, etc.
If you attach your meditation time to a trigger, it makes it easier to create a new habit of daily practice.
For example, you could meditate right after drinking your morning coffee or tea, or right after brushing your teeth, or putting the kids to bed.
- Put your meditation times in your calendar. Use a reminder on your phone.
- Set yourself a goal.
For example, “I’m going to meditate for 15 minutes every day for the next week.”
When you reach your goal, celebrate! Reward yourself.
Then set another goal and repeat.
- Enlist the help of your friends and family. Join a local meditation group.
- Plan for setbacks. Decide how you will “get back on the cushion” if you mess up and forget, or need to work late, or whatever life event you can imagine that would derail your carefully constructed plans.
Then, when it happens, don’t beat yourself up. Just follow your contingency plan.
- Consider joining my Free 7 Day Meditation Kickstart Group on Facebook, where you’ll spend a week together with like minded people who have committed to meditate every day for 7 days. Think of it like a support group to help you make your practice a daily habit. You can find out more about the 7DMK here.
What if I Don’t Have Time to Meditate?
Even if you’re convinced that meditation is a really good thing to do. That it can help you get some peace and calm in your hectic life, help you to relax and de-stress, live more in the present moment and reconnect with your spiritual side…
It can still be really hard to carve out the time and make it happen!
Here’s some detailed, practical advice about how you can effectively develop mindfulness, without spending a minute on the cushion.
How to Find out More
There’s a lot more to say about developing mindfulness, and the specifics of how to actually apply it in your daily life.
If you’d like to learn more, sign up for my weekly blog updates.
I’ll share with you how to cultivate and apply mindfulness to transform your relationship with things like stress, anxiety, anger and other difficult emotions, based on my 20+ years of meditation experience.
I’ll also share a precise, effective, down to earth method for spiritual development (if that’s your thing), without all the fluff and hazy mystical language you’ll often run into with this kind of stuff.
If this sounds interesting to you, click here to find out more.
And if you’re really keen and want to go from beginner to confident, independent meditator in the shortest time possible, have a look at my Mindfulness Crash Course.
The Mindfulness Crash Course is an online course I’ve developed specifically to take aspiring meditators from their very first meditation session, all the way to being able to meditate successfully on their own, without needing the support of a guided practice.
Along the way, I’ll show you how to avoid the common mistakes and blind alleys that most people run into when first learning how to do this stuff.
I’ll also show you how to cultivate mindfulness in a very effective way so you can start to apply it in your daily life as quickly as possible (which, after all, is the whole point!)