The Mindfulness Habit: Six Weeks to Creating the Habit of Being Present
“Creating the habit of mindfulness can result in a sense of calm, focus, joy, and contentment.”
“It’s hard to keep your anxiety up in the face of calm,” writes Kate Sciandra in her book entitled The Mindfulness Habit: Six Weeks to Creating the Habit of Being Present. She assures readers that they can calm the body and quiet the mind, no matter how busy their schedules are. They don’t even have to set aside a separate time to practice being mindful. The idea is to recognize opportunities to be present, to know what to do to take advantage of those opportunities, and to have the intention of doing it. Creating the habit of mindfulness can result in a sense of calm, focus, joy, and contentment.
The Mindfulness Habit is packed with realistic suggestions and manageable steps to develop the ability to handle stressful situations, worry, and distractions. Author Sciandra discusses some basic points about being present, the benefits of mindfulness, the process of habit formation, and meditation. She provides clear instructions for various exercises and techniques used to explore the practice of mindfulness
Weekly courses in The Mindfulness Habit include discussion, visualizations and body-centered lessons. This way, readers can choose the learning method that fits them best. All along the way, Sciandra encourages readers to be supportive of themselves, allowing themselves to be beginners. She repeats this encouragement with simple suggestions in a conversational and sometimes playful style. After all, bringing “fresh eyes and an open heart” to becoming aware of our assumptions, preconceptions, and misunderstandings is not always easy! Letting them go is easier with some patience and self-compassion.
Sciandra recommends writing a journal throughout the six-week process, posing questions so readers can record their understanding of the book’s content and what’s happening in the body and mind as they practice. This is done so that the practitioner can eventually see the difference the practice has made in one’s world view, how one feels about experiences, and how one relates to other people.
Habit formation is achieved in The Mindfulness Habit by initiating new thoughts in small segments with specific intention and following a clear plan. Readers learn how to notice strong individual preferences without getting caught up in them, but rather recognizing them as opportunities to focus and quiet the mind.
In contrast to many others, this book “works up to” seated meditation instead of starting with it. The Mindfulness Habit works first with the breath, the senses, and movement meditations. There’s also an offering of five chants, intended to invite vibration energy into the practice (English and Sanskrit names and pronunciations are included with the mantras).
Sciandra gives the reader many tools for starting a mindfulness practice and for integrating the techniques to suit individual needs. The Mindfulness Habit concludes with the advice to be selective and establish habits with the techniques that most effectively promote a sense of presence and to “move forward with deep commitment and energy.”
The Mindfulness Habit is recommended for people who want to solve life’s problems and make some self-discoveries by being present: less reactive and more receptive to all experiences, moment to moment.