How to Exercise Your Mindfulness Muscle

Few of us have been taught how to sit with our thoughts and feelings. As a result we are vulnerable to getting hooked and triggered. Awareness, attention and curiosity allow us to take control of our thinking and respond by choice instead of reactive habit.

Lack of awareness keeps us in a state of autopilot, often without our knowing. While your body and mind may go along for the ride, your spirit knows avoidance is not a solution and will wait patiently for you to return.

Most people are familiar with Henry David Thoreau’s quote that “Most men live lives of quiet desperation and will go to the grave with a song still in them.” It’s a powerful, bold statement about living out our fullest potential.

People who practice mindfulness find more joy, peace and clarity in their lives. They learn the meaning of genuine happiness which comes from accepting life as it is. Learning how to do this can help free you from the chaos and stress that seems endemic to modern life.

Thankfully there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to mindfulness. You may find you enjoy some practices more than others. It’s important to try a variety of practices. To get started, a simple practice is to follow your breath. That’s it.

Expect that your mind will wander relentlessly. It’s just doing what it’s supposed to do. No blame, no judgment. Simply note “thinking” and bring your awareness back to the breath. And take comfort in knowing that the act of returning your mind to the task is exercising your mindfulness muscle.

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