Five Steps to Writing with Mindfulness

Kathleen A. Bishop, MS, PhD, Kaplan University Health Sciences Faculty

© 2014

© 2014

Today is the day I’ve decided to write my first blog post for the KUWC, and like all writers I am a little nervous about the whole thing. Will it be good enough? Is the grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure correct? I wonder if the other faculty members will like my writing or if they will think it is boring, simplistic, or uninteresting. Wow! While all of these thoughts are running around in my head how can write? I can’t!

So what are my options? I can just choose not to write. I can chicken out and send an e-mail to the blog editor saying I am too busy and have to forgo the opportunity. Or I could just take a few minutes and do what I do each morning before I start my day—meditate and calm my mind and my body and find that quiet place within me.

Mindfulness is a wonderful practice that I have used in my classes for 20 years. Before we begin class or the assignment we take 60 seconds to get relaxed, centered, and simply breathe. Yes breathe! My students have learned how to focus their attention on the seminar, the class, or the assignment they are working on in just 60 seconds. You have 60 seconds don’t you?

The directions are below.

1. Get comfortable in your chair or wherever you are sitting.

2. Since we hold a lot of tension in our hands, let’s give them a good shake. Now place them in your lap, on your desk, or wherever they would be most comfortable.

3. You can do this exercise with your eyes open or closed. I like mine closed because I am a visual learner, and I get distracted by what I am seeing. So I close my eyes, but you can leave yours open with good results as well.

4. Next, begin by taking three deep breaths but not so deep that they make you cough. Count one on the in breath and two on the out breath. Do that slowly three times.

5. Finally, take a minute and think about how you feel. Is your mind calm? How does your body feel? Has the tension gone out of your muscles? Have your shoulders dropped away from your ears? Has your mind calmed down and cleared? If so, you are ready to being the writing process.

Okay take 60 seconds and try it out!

When the mind is filled with rambling thoughts, fears, and questions it cannot be creative, focused, or fruitful. So begin each writing period like this, and if you lose your focus in the middle of the writing process, stop and do the exercise again. It will only take 60 seconds out of your writing period, and it will give you many minutes of clarity and creativity to use toward a paper or even a blog post!

Note: In addition to reading Kathleen’s posts here, you can also find her on

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5 Responses

  1. Michael, thanks for that great information! It is also helpful for other people to share their use of mindfulness in all areas of life with everyone because most people do not know the powerful help that it can be in all areas from learning to healing and more. I will check it out and add his name to my list of resources that’s for sure.

  2. Michael B. McKenna. says:

    Kathleen; I really like your comments; I am familiar with and do use Mindfulness, however I have not tried using it Seminar, I will certainly try it. My youngest brother, Dr. Laurence McKenna, is a well renowned Clinical Psychologist that specializes in treating the psychological effects of tinnitus, he has done a lot of original research in this field. He is conducting a year long research study for the British Tinnitus Association and uses Mindfulness in his study groups. He has realized great success with the application of Mindfulness with his patients and in his daily life.

  3. B.A. NinChi Mu Shiki Lang says:

    Relax —
    Remember what Zen Master Ikkyu said:
    “Writing something to leave behind
    Is yet another kind of dream: When I
    awake I know that there will be
    no one to read it.”

    Just keep in mind –
    In the past you might have thought of making a contribution through
    something that was truly permanent, You build your pyramid or legacy,
    it’ll be there forever. But what I tell you is, what permanence is,
    is to be the tool or means. To be a stepping stone that someone else
    uses, and that they build on in the future. So it’s not something which
    itself lasts, but it’s one more step which others will build from and keep
    a process going. May this be that Zendo for you.

    B.A. NinChi Mu Shiki Lang

  4. Of course, as I read my first blog on KUWC I see a word missing in the first paragraph. Wow! What a great wake up call for me to do what I ask all of my students to do–read the post out loud before turning it in! That way your ear catches something that your eye does not see. Now let’s see how many of you can find the error as well…good luck on your next writing assignment! Dr. B

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