When I was ignorant I thought meditation was only a religious activity. I was wrong. Mindfulness is entering the mainstream as shown in this recent 60 minutes segment. I may need to re-read Jon Kabat Zinn’s book Wherever You Go, There You Are.
A lot of what I read teaches mindfulness techniques involving closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing. Evidence has shown that breathing with constant rhythm is more effective than deep breathing, which explains why mindfulness works. Some of this you get for free when you go for your morning run (alone). Your pounding heart and wheezing lungs are hard to ignore. So, fitness activities are a great way to reset your mental state.
“The mind is a trickster monkey”
Even more powerful benefits come from self-reflection. Reward yourself for thinking transcendentally. If you find yourself reflecting on the quality of your own thoughts, give your brain some brownie points. This is healthy. Some days our minds work better than others. Recognize when your brain is well-functioning and strive to re-enter that state tomorrow. Good ideas mean your mind is working!
The same goes for mental focus. Your mind wants to wander all over the place, and will do so if you let it. Practice and monitor your mental focus and strive to improve it.
If you’re not aware of your own mental state, how can you even compare day by day?