Life today is overloaded with distractions and information. Sometimes, it feels impossible to clear our minds and write the simplest things. Luckily, the benefits of mindfulness meditation for writing are numerous.
What is mindfulness meditation?
Put simply, mindfulness meditation is when you focus your attention on what’s happening, right now and in the present moment, without judgement. This applies to what is physically happening around you as well as your thoughts.
What are the benefits of mindfulness meditation for writing?
Mindfulness meditation can help you:
- Refocus your thoughts when they are all over the place. If you are distracted or you have too many ideas, meditation helps get you back on topic.
- Lower your stress levels. This is especially helpful if you are wrestling with writer’s block or are about to hit a writing deadline.
- Be more creative by allowing you to see things from a new perspective. Often, meditation helps me find a creative new angle for my writing that makes my pieces unique! This gives the reader a more dynamic reading experience, too.
- Develop greater self-awareness about yourself. As you develop self-awareness, you start to recognize many things that support your writing. These can include what working and learning style you prefer, what you do or don’t like to write about, and what environment in which you work best. You get better and better at listening to your gut and discerning what feels good and what is holding you back.
How can you practice mindfulness meditation for writing?
There are many ways you can practice mindfulness meditation that will enhance your writing. This article from The Chopra Center lists eight different ways to practice meditation! Sitting quietly for 10 minutes a day and observing the breath is a wonderful place to start. You can also listen to a guided meditation or use an app that will walk you through a short meditation. The important thing is to make mindfulness meditation a daily habit.
For writers, I believe the most important aspect of mindfulness meditation is engaging the senses. You can do this during your 10 minutes of quiet while observing the breath. Or, you can incorporate it into your everyday life!
Here are a few ideas on how to engage your senses during a mindfulness meditation practice:
- Sound: What do you hear? If you are in your house, perhaps you hear a pet or a car outside. If you are in nature, you might hear trees rustling or birds chirping. You can also play soft music for meditation or listen to a guided meditation app.
- Touch: Wear comfortable clothes and sit upright on something comfortable, like a cushion. What is the temperature like? Is there a slight breeze?
- Sight: You don’t always have to shut your eyes for meditation. You might choose to keep them open in a soft gaze. If you are focusing on a particular object, what is it? If you keep your eyes closed, what comes to your mind’s eye?
- Taste: Herbal teas are wonderful during meditation! You can switch them up to match your mood, such as a bright citrus in the morning.
- Smell: Scents can be powerful and even bring back certain memories! Light a candle, burn incense, or use essential oil to lift your mood or create a sense of calm.
During your day-to-day life, use mindfulness meditation to engage all your senses while you do even the most mundane tasks. Practice while you brush your teeth, unload the dishwasher, or take out the garbage. Walking is a wonderful form of meditation you can enjoy while in nature.
Engaging the senses and learning to be in the present moment is critical for writers. When you write, you want the reader to feel as if they are there in the piece, seeing, hearing, and even smelling everything about which you are writing. We don’t often think of writing as a sensory practice, but it certainly can!
Journaling as meditation
Another wonderful mindfulness meditation practice is journaling. As a bonus, it has writing built right into the meditation! Buy yourself a special journal dedicated to meditation and use a good pen to make the experience feel even more special.
Here are a few journaling exercises you can try:
- Stream of consciousness: Set a timer, start writing, and don’t stop! This can be for as little as five or 10 minutes. You don’t need a prompt. Write whatever comes to mind, in whatever order. This is essentially a brain dump and is especially good to do first thing in the morning or at night before bed. It is useful for clearing your mind and making you feel settled and calm. I also like to use this technique to overcome procrastination and writer’s block.
- Ask a question: Is something specific bothering or troubling you? Write it down in the form of a question. Get everything you can about it down on paper, then see if an answer comes to you. You can also let the question and your thoughts sit for a day and come back to them, and see if an answer presents itself.
- Express gratitude: Practicing gratitude can do wonders to support our mental health, as this article from Berkeley describes. Shifting the focus from negative thoughts to positive thoughts helps put us in a more expansive, and creative, frame of mind.
If you want to take mindfulness meditation to the next level, consider yoga, creating a meditation space in your home, joining a class, or using an app. And, most importantly, write about it!
As you practice mindfulness meditation, you will begin to notice new things about both yourself and your writing. Document your journey! Give yourself freedom to be as expressive as you can. Commit to practicing mindfulness every day, incorporate mindfulness into your writing, and watch your writing skills improve by leaps and bounds!
You might also like this piece on how to be more productive by finding your higher purpose.