Could Slow Reading Be a Form of Meditation?

slow reading meditation

Have you ever noticed how a good book can relax you? You settle in for a few minutes of reading and before you know it, the entire night has almost passed you by! What is unique about a slow read is that your mind is solely focused on the words being read and how that relates to the pictures that are created in your mind. You know what else creates that same effect? Meditation.

Is Reading a Good Book the Same As Meditating?

If you’re trying to read for speed, then your mind is not solely focused on the book or ebook that is in front of you. You’re trying to get through the book for some specific purpose and that purpose is at the forefront of your mind, driving the experience. Speed equates to stress and that means meditating benefits are ignored for the benefit of obtaining speed.

For a slow read, however, your mind is focused on every word that is observed and then given comprehension. It’s like meditating with your eyes closed and choosing to focus on a single idea, thought, or experience. Your mind gets tunnel vision, closing out the racing thoughts and other problems that may be surrounding you at any given moment because the next word is powerful and profound.

Slow reading does more than just break the chains that the outside world tries to put onto you. It helps develop the skill of concentration and this deepens a person’s ability to actively listen in any given situation.

How Can You Take Advantage of Slow Reading?

The first and most critical component of using slow reading as a form of meditation is to eliminate all of the distractions that might be around you. Turn off your phone completely because you’ll hear the vibrations, even if you’re upstairs and the phone is downstairs. You’ll want to turn off your computer as well because even with notifications turned off or the volume muted, you will be tempted to check your Facebook page in the middle of a good read.

A slow read also helps with reading comprehension skills. The mind must be fully focused not just on each word, but each part of each word in order to fully understand the nuance and meaning the author is attempting to put into the text. Books also have more formal language than what you’ll find on social media sites like Twitter, which means a complete understanding of language can be developed by the mind. Instead of reading abbreviations to understand them, you’ll start converting the abbreviations to their full meaning in your head before understanding them.

It’s a subtle difference, but an important one. It means a complete understanding is desired by the mind! That desire will fuel you in a number of personal and professional ways, from feeling less stress to being able to read and understand more effectively.

If you’re struggling with a routine that includes meditation, then try slow reading as an alternative. The benefits are similar to what meditation can provide and you’ll be able to discipline your mind to a new way of thinking. In return, you might just find that life itself can be much more exciting!

How You Can Overcome Common Obstacles to Mindfulness


The benefits of mindfulness are clear, but it is also one of the most difficult paths to follow. There are a number of roadblocks that get in the way, causing distractions from the peace and joy that can come with an increased awareness. Once negative circumstances happen, it’s easy to begin following a new journey! By paying attention to these common obstacles to mindfulness, you’ll be able to enjoy more than just the good life. It’ll be a great life!

#1. There Isn’t Enough Effort

Mindfulness can be very difficult. It takes ongoing effort every day in order for this specific skill to develop. It can be very discouraging to practice mindfulness at first because it feels like there is no progress being made. When you make the conscious effort to stay in control, even when you feel like you’re out of control, then eventually it will get easier.

#2. There Are Too Many Distractions

There are always going to be distractions during your journey toward mindfulness. Plan ahead of time what you’ll do if the negative thoughts begin creeping in. You can also proactively work to eliminate common distractions like email notifications so that your time won’t be disturbed.

#3. Expectations Are Unrealistic

Even though we live in a society that expects instant results, most of the time people need to pay their dues in order to taste success. That’s very true with mindfulness! Some days will seem incredibly slow and there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead of being upset about a lack of progress, try being content with the progress you do experience.

#4. Giving Up

When there is a roadblock in the way, it’s very easy to throw your hands up in the air in frustration and just walk away from the journey. A roadblock is a challenge, nothing more. You can rise to meet this challenge, just as you meet other challenges every single day.

#5. There Are Conflicting Goals

Mindfulness is a wonderful goal to have, but it can also create conflict with some of your other goals. This creates a conflict that ultimately manifests itself in stress. Goals are intended to make people happy, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of mindfulness or your peace of mind. If you’re experiencing a conflict, then it’s time to reexamine the goals you’ve got.

#6. The Eyes Are Looking Behind

The reward of mindfulness isn’t the final destination. It isn’t what has happened in the past either. The reward of mindfulness is the journey that you undertake every day. Meeting goals might bring temporary satisfaction, but that is all. With mindfulness, there is a curve of growth that allows people to be a little better every single day.

#7. You’re Just Done

Sometimes it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You’d rather do anything than practice mindfulness at that moment… and there’s nothing wrong with that. Being mindful means being aware of what you and your body needs as well. Just make sure to come back when you are in a good space and you’ll be able to conquer any obstacle.

There are common obstacles that can get in the way of mindfulness, but these challenges can be defeated. They will make you stronger. When that happens, you’ll find that the benefits of mindfulness won’t be very far behind!

5 Mindfulness Exercises That Will Change Your Life

mediation at the beach

It’s very easy to just sail through a day on cruise control. In some ways, it makes the day a lot easier to handle because stress and anxiety can be ignored. On the other hand, however, many of the details that make each day special get missed when a mind is stuck on autopilot! These 5 mindfulness exercises will help you connect to your world without the threat of being overwhelmed by fearful emotions.

#1. Meditation

The benefits of meditation are proven, but mindfulness meditation takes these benefits to a new level. Each breath that you focus upon will keep you in the present instead of focusing on the regrets of the past or the worries of the future. With daily practice, you can make each moment become a perfect moment because you can experience all of the details in that moment with an excited, eager mind.

#2. Improve Your Posture

For many, the reason why they have aches and pains that occur throughout the day is because their posture isn’t suitable for their body. The human body is very adaptable and can adjust to changing circumstances, but it also wasn’t meant to sit slouched in an office chair for 8 hours per day while typing at an uncomfortable position. Be aware of what your body is saying, listen by adjusting your posture as needed, and don’t be afraid to take a break when needed.

#3. Waiting In Line Isn’t a Waste of Time

When was the last time you spent several minutes waiting in line for something that you needed to purchase? Even when you’re in a queue, you have the opportunity to bring your attention back to the present and experience a perfect moment. You can focus on how your body is feeling at this very moment. You can take joy in the excited laugh of a child or a favorite smell and then keep that positive emotion flowing as you wait. Deep breaths will further enhance this process and keep you mindful of the good instead of the bad.

#4. Keep the Music Off

Although music can help to facilitate meditation, it can be a distraction to mindfulness. Think about your favorite song right now for a couple minutes. Think about the lyrics and the melody… and now you’ll think about that song periodically for the next several hours. Music engages the entire mind, but it doesn’t always help to bring someone to focus on the present. Instead of hearing the tones of a good composition, listen to the composition of the perfect moments of the world going around you at this very second. That’s what mindfulness can do.

#5. Eliminate the Phone

Even if your smartphone isn’t sounding right now, it presents a distraction to mindfulness. Do I have any Facebook notifications? As my boss texted me yet? These are all items that take you away from the moment. Turn your phone to silent if you must carry it with you, but remove the phone from the equation whenever possible to maximize the benefit you receive with it missing. When you’re experiencing the details of a perfect moment, you won’t notice it missing!

These 5 exercises can help you improve the mindfulness you experience every day so you don’t have to stay on cruise control. Begin practicing them today and you’ll quickly see what you’ve been missing!

Are You Ready to Reduce Stress in 5 Minutes?


There’s just one mental practice that’s been able to stand the tests of clinical research and that is meditation. When there is a focus on mindfulness, there is a proven ability for anyone practicing meditation to improve their mental performance, increase their focus, and stop depression, anxiety, and stress dead in its tracks.

One of the most common questions that is asked by those who’ve never practiced meditation before involves the time commitment. “How much time do I have to dedicate to meditation to have it help me?” The answer might just surprise you: 5 minutes.

What Could You Do In the Next 5 Minutes?

How often have you wasted 5 minutes in your day? It happens all of the time. Whether you’re reading a Facebook post that ends up being a worthless sales pitch or you just sit at your desk and space off, there are at least 4 or 5 periods of this time that people have every day that aren’t used at all. Instead of wasting this time, try putting an emphasis on mindfulness meditation in there.

What’s interesting about the practice of meditation is that it does more than just reduce current stress levels. It also reduces the amount of perceived stress that people feel during the average day. When you change your focus from a negative, anxiety-based perspective that has worry as the #1 object of attention to a meditation-based focus that looks at positive energy as the top priority, a life can change very quickly.

More Meditation Means More Results

5 minutes is a good place to start, but you’ve also got to build upon each success that you have. Let your 5 minute meditation sessions become the foundation of longer sessions. Why? Because research has shown that those who meditate more on a daily basis have lower levels of cortisol in their bodies. Cortisol is that fuel that makes stress and anxiety burn. If you lower the fuel levels, then you lower the amount of stress.

Meditating for a long period of time can be physically and mentally challenging. You must commit to meditation as you would any other chore. The only difference is that instead of washing dishes or doing laundry, you’re providing your mind with strength that it can use to fight off the cortisol-induced issues that can flood your life patterns.

There is even some thought that a habit of mindfulness can be developed with long-term meditation so that it becomes a natural part of life. In other words, over time it is believed that the mind will automatically shift into a mode of meditation whenever there is an opportunity for rest. How do you get to this end result? By starting your journey today with your very first steps!

Take 5 minutes to meditate at some point in this day. You choose the time, but make it happen. You might just find that it will change your life.

Could Mindfulness Make Monday Mornings Exciting Again?


There’s something about Monday morning that makes it worse than the rest of the week. Part of it is the return to work after a couple of days off with the family, absolutely! There’s also another component that involves stress. You see, people also have from the time they get off on Friday afternoon until they arrive at work Monday morning to begin worrying about the next work week. It’s a hidden minefield that’s disguised in family fun, but there nonetheless.

How could this anticipatory stress be reduced? Through an increased practice of mindfulness.

What Do You Actually Do Every Weekend?

The whole idea of the weekend is to give people a couple days off to relax and rejuvenate. It’s a place where we’re in full control of almost all of our circumstances. There’s no deadlines, no professional workload, and no project demands, but that doesn’t mean you don’t worry about upcoming deadlines, workload responsibilities, and project demands.

Every time you think about work during your time off, you’re increasing your stress levels because you’re anticipating stress when you return to work.

How can mindfulness prevent this from occurring? It works because instead of looking toward the future and the stresses of an upcoming work week, you’re paying more attention to the present moments that you have. Instead of the project due on Tuesday, for example, you’re consciously focusing on the smell of the roses, the crack of a baseball bat, or the flavors of that hamburger you’re having for lunch with the kids.

Mindfulness Is Like a Reset Button

There are only so many seconds available to any given day and there’s a good chance that what you’re doing right now at work may be forgotten by this time next year. Mindfulness slows down the rush toward stress because you’re focusing on the details of right now that matter. With mindfulness a regular habit, you’ll be consciously slowing down your intentions of each action so that you are more aware of the environment around you.

How does that help make Monday morning better? Because it gives your mind time to breathe. Instead of being anxious for Monday, you’ll be seeking out the small, very perfect moments that are surrounding you right now, even as you read this article. The greatest undiscovered frontier isn’t beyond our solar system or beneath our seas: it’s within your soul, the inner core of self that gets ignored because of the frantic rushing that many believe is necessary to find success.

Mindfulness has a different definition of success. It helps you extend your joy because you’re solely focused on the beauty that any given moment can provide. When you work toward this achievement, you’ll notice that Monday morning is no longer a time you hate to experience!

How Could You Add More Mindfulness To Your Life?

mindfulness in your life

As technology continues to take on more roles in life, people are finding that they must consciously disconnect from the world in order to avoid burnout and high stress levels. The idea of mindfulness was once reserved for the ultra-spiritual, or perhaps the person who walked into the heavily scented store that sold crystals, but those days are gone. Mindfulness is something that has become commonly practiced because it is so easy to add to life!

Here are some fundamental ways you could add mindfulness to your life:

Take a walk. Nothing cures stress like a little exercise. When you take a walk, you gain the chance to calm the mind, obtain a better focus once again, and often tap into your creative centers. Green is often relaxing to people, so try taking a walk through a local green space and just enjoy the time away you’re taking to start the process of mindfulness.

Every moment is an opportunity. Can you really practice mindfulness while putting wet clothes into the dryer? Or sticking dirty plates into the dishwasher? You can… and that’s often the best place to start. Being more aware of the sounds, the smells, and the sights of your environment integrates the routine of mindfulness and helps provide long-term success.

Breathing is fundamental. Your breathing patterns are a measurement of how you’re really feeling. Control your breathing and you’ll control those difficult stresses and emotions that are bothering you. Ever take a deep breath to calm down? Now imagine using mindfulness to take a deep breath that lasts all day long!

Eliminate multitasking. When someone’s attention is divided into just two directions, it will take them twice as long to get one task done and they’re twice as likely to make errors. How many tabs are up on your internet browser right now? And do you check social media and the news and your email while working? That’s multitasking too!

Eating and sleeping right plays a major role. There’s an old kid’s song that says Input Output, what goes in is what comes out. What you eat plays a big part in achieving mindfulness because your body needs the right fuel to get through the day. Put junk into your body and you’ll get junk out! Take time to eat, taste the food, and get the right amount of sleep that you need every night.

They get outside. Did you know that you can actually become deficient in Vitamin D if you don’t get outside enough? Going outside does more than just put sunlight on your skin and make you healthy, however, because it also encourages exploration. Mindfulness is all about exploring the internal and there’s no better way to do so than while exploring the external.

Mindfulness Makes New Year’s Resolutions Easy


Do you find that keeping a New Year’s resolution becomes difficult after the first couple weeks? Many people hit a lull with their resolutions right about now and many of them choose to just set them aside. Sometimes it is because there is too little success being noticed from implementing these resolutions, but often it is because a good resolution can be mentally difficult to keep. That’s why instituting the practice of mindfulness can be so helpful to stay on track with any resolution!

What Is Mindfulness? How Can I Make It Work?

In a very real sense, mindfulness is the conscious choice to discard the distractions and problems that are being experienced on any given day to focus on the essentials of life. Rather than engage thoughts, you notice them as an outside observer. You focus on your breathing or one thing that allows you to be able to stay in tune with yourself and your body.

Mindfulness meditation can take several years to master, but its powerful effects can begin from the very first attempt that is made. From chronic pain to anxiety issues, mindfulness can help balance the body, the mind, and the soul. The key is to make sure that the moments that are being encountered are simply being observed… not judged.

Here’s Where Mindfulness Fails For Many People…

Many people may experience the initial benefits of mindfulness meditation and be encouraged by them. Then, out of the blue, they have a thought that they not only observe, but also judge. Once this happens, the effects of mindfulness begin to reduce. When this reduction occurs, then negative self-talk while in the meditative state begins.

Why did I have to judge that thought? That was a stupid thing to do!

I’ve failed myself once again. Can’t I ever get anything right?

I’ve always been dumb and this just proves it.

Negative self-talk is a very destructive cycle. Once it begins, the positive effects of mindfulness meditation continue to reduce, which ultimately results in more negative self-talk and another cycle. By stopping the negative self-talk, many people often find that mindfulness can work miracles!

How Can Negative Self-Talk Be Stopped?

It’s all about shifting habits. For those who have never really attempted mindfulness before, there is likely a multi-tasking habit in place because of being so used to the busyness of any given day. This causes multiple thoughts, multiple reactions, and multiple chances for negativity to occur! By working to achieve a mindfulness “tunnel vision” of sorts, instead of multi-tasking every thought, it is possible to look at each thought and set aside thoughts that aren’t very useful at that given moment.

Instead of judging a thought or worse, judging yourself because you had a thought that wasn’t what you wanted to have, just bring yourself back to the present. Focus on that one thing that brings you into a meditative state. That’s where mindfulness can begin to work for you!

Resolutions are about making the most of a fresh new start with every moment. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of each moment instead of allowing them to pass undiscovered. When you can take advantage of these moments, you’ll be able to achieve any resolution you have!

Silence: The Best New Year’s Resolution You Could Make?

sitting in silence

As 2014 became a reality around the world, millions of people used the new year as an opportunity to create a fresh start. Resolutions were made to lose weight, find more joy and happiness, work harder, spend more time with the family, and so forth. What if, however, the most powerful resolution that someone could make is to give themselves the gift of silence?

Instead of working hard at doing more, what if we worked hard to create a stillness around us and within us to maintain calm and harmony?

Can You Even Exist in the Realm of Silence?

It’s tough to go to bed at night sometimes because of all the racing thoughts. From strategies being implemented to replaying the day’s events to see if correct decisions were made, it doesn’t take long for these loud thoughts to seep into our bones and become part of the very fabric of us. By focusing on silence, it is possible to carve out a space in the loudness and make peace. Without quiet, we can never truly be aware.

We get so used to the noise that quiet becomes uncomfortable, doesn’t it? We feel like we always need to be doing something here or there! If you can get past that initial level of discomfort that comes with a goal of adding more silence to your daily routine, then you’ll find that there are many great rewards awaiting you on the other side of quietness!

Why is Silence So Difficult To Implement?

The problem that many of us have with silence is that a focus on maintaining harmony and peace requires a disassembly of the ego to some extent. We must focus on others more and ourselves less. Instead of pursuing all of our wants and wishes and using all of the time in the day to do so, we carve out spaces of time for stillness where the wants and wishes of others become a higher priority. This softens the ego, brings us each deeper inside ourselves, and the silence here allows us to better understand what we truly want out of life.

In effect, it’s about creating the condition of inner surrender. Instead of putting up walls to defend ourselves against the outside world so we can achieve everything that we believe we must, we let down those walls and let the world come into our hearts. Instead of striving for personal happiness, the goal to make others happy becomes a priority. There are no boundaries on this landscape of silence! There must simply be a willingness on a personal level to embrace it.

Silence Helps To Focus Our Own Goals

What silence ultimately provides is the chance to look at ourselves with an outsider’s perspective. By taking a different look at our lives or even just a difficult situation, our strengths can become stronger and goals can become easier to achieve because there is a greater long-term perspective that is able to be seen. If you’re looking for a unique way to make 2014 the year where everything comes together for you, then why not set your own resolution for more silence in your life?

It’s never too late to start!

The Importance of Making Mindfulness a Habit


Take a moment and think about some of your favorite times in life. Go ahead – do it right now. What do all of these moments have in common with each other? You were present in that moment to create that specifically wonderful memory. Most people don’t remember the countless hours they spent commuting to work or waiting in line to check out at the grocery store. They do remember the moments where they were mindful of the moments that were passing!

How Can I Make Mindfulness a Habit?

We’re not going to be mindful of every moment of every day. That’s a pretty tall task and one that will most certainly burn out the average person! What we can do, however, is work on becoming more mindful of passing moments that we might normally just slide right on by. It’s easy to start working on the skill of mindfulness too – here’s how you do it:

  • Commit to remembering when you open a door.
  • Commit to remembering when you sit down in a chair.

Mindfulness happens with these commitments because we’re making a conscious effort to be in more moments each day. That conscious effort is really all it takes to begin making more out of each and every day!

Observe Your Surrounding Environment Each Time

As you open each door or sit down in a chair, don’t just rush through the process of it. Take a few moments and be aware of what is going on in the environment around you. Are the kids playing and you can hear their laughter? Is there a dog barking like crazy? What kind of music do you hear playing? It is in the fine details of life that we find ourselves remembering the good times. By training ourselves to find the fine details, we’ll create more mindfulness!

Won’t I Interrupt My Life By Doing This?

Here’s a strange thing: most of the time, when you’re either walking through a door or sitting down in a chair, your thought pattern is more about accomplishing the goal of walking through the door or sitting in the chair. By adding in the fine details of these encounters, you’re not subtracting from the experience whatsoever. You’re adding to the experience because you’re more focused, being more observational about your environment.

Those stray thoughts about politics, problems you might be trying to solve, or even the meaning of life that might occur during these activities will still be there when you’ve finished your observational tasks. The difference is that you’ll remember these thoughts more than you normally would because you’re making an effort at mindfulness!

Mindfulness Is An Easy Way To Love Yourself More

In order to love others as ourself, we must first find a way to love ourselves completely. When we’re sailing through a day, ignoring the world around us, that’s not really love. True love comes from enjoying the fine details of life that are always occurring! When we can pay more attention to those details, then we are showing more love and contentment to our lives. When we can do that, we can love others more thoroughly as well.

The key to changing a life could very well be being more mindful. Practice your mindfulness today and see what details you might be missing!

Can You Experience Meditation Through Writing?

joy of writing

The beautiful thing about meditation is that you really can practice this ancient form of contemplation in virtually any task that you are doing. Some people choose to meditate while they take a shower. Others might meditate while doing some household chores. There are even people who can meditate while they’re driving to work!

As a writer, I’ve found that my mind is constantly racing to come up with new ideas, new characters to invent, and new plots that could entertain others. It’s hard to shut down my mind sometimes because as soon as one thought gets pushed back, there’s another one there to fill the gap… and it’s a good thought that needs to be written down! As I was writing down these fresh ideas one day while trying to meditate, I realized that I was able to just be there in the moment as I wrote.

I began to wonder… could you really experience meditation while writing. And the truth is that you can! You don’t have to be a professional writer to engage in meditative writing. Here’s how you can try out meditation through writing to see if it could work for you:

1. Get Yourself Into the Right State of Mind

In order for your mind to be able to begin meditative writing, you’ve got to bring some structure to the thought chaos that is going on inside your head. The easiest way to do this is through the use of deep breaths. Most people having a resting breathing rate of 12-15 breaths per minute, so take at least a couple minutes to just practice deep breathing. Pay attention to how you’re feeling during those moments as that will become the cornerstone of your upcoming work.

2. Give Yourself 10 Minutes To Write

Once you’ve relaxed your mind, it is time to sit down and write. You could use a diary, a journal, or your computer’s word processing software. What matters is that you go into the process with a blank canvas. You’re not trying to write something with fully developed characters or a plot – you’re simply writing whatever comes into your mind! There is no “right” or “wrong” thing to write during this process – allow yourself to be surprised!

3. Read What You’ve Written

After your 10 minutes are up [and make sure you set a timer or alarm to go off so you don’t just keep writing!], take a few moments to read what you’ve written aloud. Try to experience the words as your mind experiences them: emotions, excitement, judgments, and expectations tend to come flooding in. Let yourself experience these things!

4. Highlight Items That Are of Particular Value

I’ve noticed that there are often phrases that have an incredible impact as I read them. By taking the time to highlight these phrases in some way, you can have them stay with you throughout the day. These really are your core wants, ideas, and desires.

Don’t expect perfection the first time you try meditative writing. There is value in practicing this form of meditation on a daily basis. Try it for yourself today and see if this form of meditation can help you better understand your mind!

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