Five Steps to Writing with Mindfulness
Kathleen A. Bishop, MS, PhD, Kaplan University Health Sciences Faculty
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 www.unlockthedoortolearning.com.