There are many ways to develop mindfulness skills, but one of the most effective ways is meditation. Why? Because meditation allows you to create an ideal set of conditions in which to isolate and then train your mindfulness skills. It’s similar to how athletes train particular skills in the gym in order to improve at their sport.
In the video below, I talk more about why meditation is so effective for training mindfulness, and how to go about doing it using a particular type of meditation called ‘noting practice’. Noting practice is the most effective form of meditation that I’ve come across for training mindfulness.
If you’d like to give noting practice a try within the supportive environment of a group, you can sign up for my Free online 7 Day Meditation Kickstart (7DMK) program.
7DMK is an online group program for people who are new to meditation and want to give it a try, as well as for more experienced meditators who want to maintain a consistent, daily practice with the support of a group.
We provide meditation instructions, support and accountability to help you meditate at least 15 min per day, for 7 days. Click here for more information
P.S. If you like this kind of stuff and want to discover how to develop mindfulness effectively and apply it in a simple, straightforward way, then you may be interested in signing 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.
P.P.S. If you prefer reading to watching videos, I’ve included the full transcript below.
This video is all about how to use meditation to build your mindfulness skills.
If you haven’t yet watched my video about what mindfulness is, you may want to check that one out first, since it will help you understand much better what I’m going to show you in this video.
Let me start by saying that there are many ways to develop mindfulness skills. I’m going to focus on meditation in this video, and I’ll cover the other ways in future videos, so keep your eye out for those.
So, why meditation?
Well, I like to make an analogy with training for sports. I’m an avid rock climber, so I’ll use rock climbing as my example.
If you want to get really good at climbing, you need to train a bunch of different things, including movement technique, finger strength, power and so on. Obviously, just by climbing a lot, you will train all of those different things, but if you want to get better as efficiently as possible, you need to isolate those different parts and train them individually, in an ideal environment like a climbing gym. Then, when you get back outside on the rock, you can use your newly developed skills to climb more difficult things.
The same applies to mindfulness, which is very much a trainable skill.
You will definitely improve this skill just by being mindful as you go about your day. But, if you want to fast-track your skill development, you need to be like an athlete and simplify conditions so you can isolate and then practice your skills in an ideal environment. That’s what meditation does.
Improving your mindfulness skills through meditating makes it easier to then use those skills during your day when you’re not meditating.
Ok, now that you know why meditation is useful, let’s cover some of the basic setup for your practice.
The absolutely, hands-down, most important thing about meditation, is that you need to do it every day! You need to be consistent. No excuses! It doesn’t have to be a long time, even a few minutes in your parked car is better than nothing. But you need to do it every day. I can’t stress this enough!
Why is this so important?
Well, remember that mindfulness is a skill. Just like learning to play the piano. If you practice everyday, assuming you’re practicing correctly, you’ll get better and better and eventually be able to play beautiful music. If you only practice here and there, when you happen to be in the mood, you won’t improve much and it will be a long time before you have enough skill to play something like Rachmaninov’s Prélude in C sharp minor. [PAUSE for MUSIC – play chopsticks] Meditation is similar.
The other super important thing is to practice correctly. You can practice 3 hours a day, but if you’re not practicing the right way, all that time and effort will be wasted. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you!
I’ve been doing this meditation thing for a long time, over 20 years, <<[Look off to sides to see who said that!]>> And, I actually spent a lot of that time in wasted effort, because I wasn’t practicing correctly. But, once I learned how to meditate properly, I improved my skills dramatically. In only a few months, I made more progress than I had made in the previous several years! That’s the difference that precise instructions can make!
The type of mindfulness meditation that made all the difference for me and that I teach is called noting practice and it’s very simple.
During noting practice, you begin by paying attention to the physical sensations associated with breathing, in particular you focus on the sensations in the abdominal area as you inhale and exhale. As you pay attention to these sensations, you mentally label them, which is why it’s called noting practice.
Noting practice is so effective because it strengthens your skill in all the components that make up mindfulness. If you watched my video about what mindfulness is, you’ll know that the components of mindfulness include alert observation, receptiveness and equanimity.
To observe something, you need to be able to direct your attention to your object of interest, and hold it there for as long as you need to in order to be able to see it clearly. Noting practice trains this ability by requiring you to perceive the sensations you’re observing in enough detail and with enough clarity and longevity that you can correctly label them.
Noting practice also trains receptiveness and equanimity, the ability to allow anything to come into your awareness, whether it’s pleasant or unpleasant, and take an equal interest in it. The act of mentally labeling what you’re observing increases both your interoceptive awareness and your tolerance for intense sensations and emotions, improving your ability to simply allow these sensations to arise and pass on their own, without your interference. In fact, there have been many scientific studies showing that mental labeling helps to reduce the perceived intensity of emotions and helps us to handle them better.
If you’d like to give this a try, you can download a set of free guided meditations that teach you to use the noting technique on my website. Just go to 30daysofmindfulness.com/getguided and follow the instructions. I’ve included a short instructional video there and two mp3 files: a guided meditation for beginners, as well as one for those of you who have moved past the beginner stage and are ready for something a little more challenging.
That’s it for this video. If you liked it, please give me a thumbs up here on youtube and leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you. And subscribe to my channel to make sure you don’t miss any new videos as they go live.
I’m Nick Grabovac, Thanks for watching.