“Be mindful” is something we hear often, but what does “mindfulness” mean? What does it do? How does it work? I aimed to answer these questions by making a comic that shows mindfulness in action.

I have been meditating daily for a few years now. I remember when I started to meditate for 20 minutes a day and use mindfulness techniques, I noticed a difference in my behavior and headspace in a matter of weeks. Most useful in changing my behavior was a technique I found called “mindful noting.” In the practice of mindful noting, one notes what is currently happening in a detached way. You simply “take notes” on yourself as if you were a scientist watching yourself. You might note what position your body is in, what you’re doing, and what you are feeling. You might note right now “Sitting, looking at phone, feeling calm.”

Using this method it is easy to catch oneself at the tipping point. For example, I noticed I would catch myself as I started to cheat on my diet when stress eating. I would note “standing, cutting cake, feeling anxious.” And from there it would be much easier to set down the cake and walk away and do something to address my anxiety.

This works for getting off task, for keeping track of thoughts and feelings, and also for catching yourself RIGHT before you tip into the abyss of negative emotions. I noticed I could let go of a train of thought if it was heading into a bad and unproductive place. Just noticing the anger and watching it, rather than actively getting into thinking angry thoughts could save an entire day from being drenched in sadness, anger, or hatred. Without fanning the flames of anger, the feeling of anger dies extremely quickly. In a matter of seconds an overwhelming wave of rage can evaporate into a gentle ripple. Don’t believe me? The next time you catch yourself in the middle of anger, take note that it’s happening, and watch the feeling of anger in a detached way.

I wanted to share this because I found it so valuable in my everyday life, and maybe it could clear up some common questions about how it works. Thank you for reading!

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