Trees of heaven, North CarolinaMindfulness has changed my life. I’m not exaggerating. It is as dramatic as that.

I used to walk the world in a state of mental haze. I had trouble reading people’s non-verbal cues, was unaware of my surroundings and had little capacity for empathy.

All that has changed for me. And my life continues to change. My life, well as the lives of countless other people who meditate.

Writer and and fellow mindfulness blogger on PsychCentral, Elisha Goldstein, has described his experience with it as well as that of other people in his compelling new book “The Now Effect.

In it, we learn about a powerful tool called STOP, which is an easy to remember acronym for a simple yet very effective mindfulness technique: S stands for Stop, T for take a deep breath, O for observe what’s happening in that moment in your mind, body and surroundings. And finally P for proceed to what has to be done right there.

Mindfulness means first and foremost to be present. And for us mindless creatures, that’s the hardest thing to do. Because it requires to pay attention, and that means to make an effort. At least initially, before it becomes a routine.

Mindfulness is especially important in relationships. It makes a world of difference to be able to just wait a moment before we engage with another. Is what I am about to say going to be perceived as overly critical? Will my tone sound annoyed and impatient? Do I really want to go down that road again, or do I just take a breath and simply do not react?

Even the silent treatment can take on a different feel, when we don’t just walk off abruptly, but stay present with our eyes, even when we aren’t ready or willing to speak.

My favorite story in Elisha Goldstein’s book is “Thinking Small Can Produce Big Results.” He explores the very common thought pattern that we feel easily overwhelmed by all the things we should be doing. Workout one hour a day. Meditate 20 minutes. Talk to mother on the phone for half an hour. And so on.

He reminds us that we don’t have to take things so seriously. A small effort is enough. I love the “75/50/20″ idea. Instead of having to drag yourself to the gym every day to sooth your guilty conscience, all you have to do is 75 jumping jacks, 50 sit-ups and 20 push-ups. You’ll be done in no time but you’ll feel great.

Life can be simple.


photo credit: moonjazz



View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 6 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.


No trackbacks yet to this post.

    Last reviewed: 21 Feb 2012

APA Reference
Schoen, G. (2012). The Power of Mindfulness. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from


The Gentle Self Buddha Betrayed
Gerti Schoen is the author of The Gentle Self
and her latest book, Buddha Betrayed. Check them
out on today!

Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • Lou: It is hard to work through an impasse when the stumbling blocks are the spouse’s parents and sister. When...
  • MMPP: How dare we question the wisdom of a Psychologist! They are all knowing and their abilities should never be...
  • Cooper: The weight that worrying carries is tremendous. It heavily influences the ways we live, and behaviors often...
  • Jasmine Settles: This article is very enlightening on an old age remedy. Many cultures believe that nature is the...
  • Cut the critic: Thanks so much for posting this topic. From the time I was 6 or 7 I have suffered from S.A.D. The...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!