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How to Be Mindful While Reading

How to Be Mindful While Reading
Pick reading that will engage but not deplete you, something that requires a bit of mental energy, not another item on your to-do list.


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Reading: A Meditation

Reading: A Meditation

Reading can be harnessed into a great opportunity for mindfulness, and provide us with space to be in the present moment.

Many times a day, we unconsciously read a banner advertisement or a text notification on our smartphones, not realizing that we only read passively, and not give much thought to this amazing ability.



Mindfulness Through Reading

  1. Find some quiet time to read when there is ample time to indulge and pick something engaging but not too challenging.
  2. Try to read from a physical book but if you have to read from a smartphone or tablet, disable notifications and turn on the soothing reading mode.
  3. As you progress in the book, notice the color, ink and the smell of the pages, your slowing down or getting sleepy is a good sign, it means your brain is responding to this new, refreshing cycle of activity.
  4. Notice the language, the rhythm of the sentences, the vibrant details that build a visual image inside your mind.
  5. Do not be frustrated if you wander, it is part of reading to get lost in something beautiful.
  6. Gently glide back in the book and enjoy whatever you get out of it.



Unfinished Books

Due to unlimited distractions, shorter attention spans and increased boredom, we aren't finishing the books we start to read. Our impulsive and fickle nature is also to blame.

Add Some Variety

The mind needs variety and diverse types of stimuli at different times. Reading several books at once, of different genres is a smart way to be able to cater to the mind's different needs at different times. It is also a good idea to not have more than a few books in your current reading list. The recommended number is 3.

Let Go Of Certain Books

If reading a certain book is beginning to feel like a burden to you, you are free to let go. The reason can be any, but it is no use wasting your time in a book that isn't speaking to you.

Letting go of a book provides closure and unburdens your mind.

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Mindfulness at work

Mindfulness at work

Means being consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state. 

If you’re writing a report, mindfulness requires...

1 min/session

That’s the minimum required for a mini-mediation.

Just focus on your sense. You don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down.

Use Mindful Reminders

You can use interruptions as hooks to make you more mindful.

Every time your phone rings, take a mindful breath. Every time you hear the ping of a text message, pause to be mindful of your surroundings rather than immediately reacting by checking the message. 

Note-taking: a powerful tool for learning

  • Notes extend your memories: writing can be seen as an external enhancement of your brain, allowing you to think more complicated thoughts and solve harder problems.
  • Not...

Figure out your purpose

Ask yourself why are you reading:

  • What am I trying to remember? 
  • How am I going to use this information? (e.g. on a test, cited in an essay, etc.)
  • What do I plan to do with the notes later? Will you be studying off of them extensively? Or maybe you’re just taking notes to stay focused, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll look through them after?

Strategies for note-taking

  • Jot notes in the margin. These aren’t particularly searchable, but they allow you to reiterate the main idea.
  • Keep a small notepad on the side, take breaks each section to jot down the main ideas. 
  • Create flashcards. In the rarer situations where memorization of details is important, then a simple strategy can be to just create flashcards while you take notes.