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ABC of Mindfulness

by Vidya Sury April 1, 2016 70 comments
ABCs of Mindfulness Vidya Sury

“Mindfulness is the new black”

Living in the moment with focus is not a new concept, but it was probably easier for our ancestors who did not have the distractions we struggle with during our times.

So what is the big deal about living mindfully?

Before I start singing its praises, let’s look at what mindfulness is NOT

  • Mindfulness is NOT about that ideal world where we drift along, serene and zoned out
  • Mindfulness is NOT about being irritatingly positive all the time, no matter what. (Can you imagine? Facebook and other social media would have to shut down, no?)
  • It is NOT time consuming or a ritual you have to force on yourself.
  • It is NOT something that requires special skills before you see the results

What is it, then?

  • Mindfulness is cultivating self-awareness, and being awake in the moment. It is about paying attention consciously, non-judgmentally.
  • It is a practice that helps us tackle and accept life, our relationships and ourselves the way we are, right now.
  • It is about not visiting Facebook ten times and spending the next three hours and feeling guilt take over before actually getting around to why you went there in the first place.

In one line, it is “showing up fully in our lives and living them as if this moment is the only one we have” Jon Kabat-Zinn

Here are some benefits worth considering:

  • You enjoy what you are doing more when you focus on the one thing at hand
  • You are less likely to dwell on past regrets
  • You don’t worry so much about the future as you would, otherwise
  • You are better able to let go of self-esteem issues
  • You build better connections with people
  • You respond better
  • You think more clearly
  • Your creativity blooms
  • You feel your life is more balanced

Then there are the health benefits:

  • Less stress
  • Lower BP
  • Improved brain function
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Easier to fight pain
  • Better sleep
  • Fewer tummy issues

Mindfulness is also known to help improve mental health, especially in those with anxiety disorders, depression and psychological distress, as well as substance use disorders.

An easy way to understand mindfulness is through the convenient acronym ABC

A is for awareness 

More awareness of our actions and thoughts and about what is happening in our mind and body

B is for “Being”

Being in the moment rather than responding on autopilot, feeding problems and starring in our own disaster movies.

C is for compassion and curiosity

where we see things and respond with kindness, creating a gap between the situation and our reaction so we can make better choices.

Practicing being in the moment involves changing at least some of the things we do on autopilot to feel more present – such as taking a five minute break every hour, seeing ourselves without judgment, being kinder to ourselves and letting go of perfectionism.

Something to think about:

  • What 5 things can you do today to be kinder to yourself?
  • What 5 things can you do to make your day easier?

How mindfulness empowers us

Watch this beautiful video on how mindfulness empowers us by Happify, narrated by the wonderful Sharon Salzberg, author of Love your Enemies

Today’s mindful living activity:

How mindful are you?

Print it out if you like – it is a good checkpoint to return to, from time to time because you know you can change! You can also add your own questions!

How mindful are you activity Vidya Sury

Today’s post is the first in the April A to Z Challenge. My theme is “Mindful Living”.

I thank Arlee Bird of Tossing it out for masterminding the A to Z Challenge and am thrilled that this is my fourth year in the challenge with four blogs.

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Nicola April 1, 2016 at 12:32 pm

I am going to try to be a bit more mindful today. Thanks for such an in-depth and interesting post. Have a lovely weekend.

Vidya Sury April 1, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Aloha! Nicola! Thank you for coming by! Loved your post, and here is to an interesting weekend!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Filled With Gratitude

Kala Ravi April 1, 2016 at 12:34 pm

And the Master does it Mindfully! Vidya, you have such a wonderful knack with expressing your thoughts so lucidly! Wouldn’t we all be a happier lot if we could follow even a trifle of mindfulness in our everyday lives?! Looking forward to your posts through April 🙂

Vidya Sury April 1, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Hugs, Kala! Thank you so much for your kind words! You know what? I posted this post on the wrong blog before I realized what I’d done – luckily I didn’t publish it. So much for being mindful eh? But I am a lifelong learner.
Vidya Sury recently posted…Filled With Gratitude

Kathryn Trask April 1, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Wow, really enjoyed your post and loved the video you chose to make a point. I will be back every day! I hate starring in my own disaster movie! So to be kinder to myself I will notice when I am and just gently acknowledge it but foster the goodness of the present.
Kathryn Trask recently posted…Audiobooks

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:10 am

Thank you Kathryn! I like to remember that the present is just that – a present – ours to cherish, or lose. I am trying my best to practice what I preach! 🙂 Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Arti April 1, 2016 at 12:58 pm

This is my first stop on day one of A to Z– even before I posted my offering:) So happy, I did. Feel like saying ‘Om’ to a happy beginning. Love the animation and of course, the wise words. Thank you.
Arti recently posted…A to Z Challenge 2016

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:20 am

Thank you so much Arti! So kind of you! 🙂
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Mars April 1, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Wonderful first post! I did read it acutely aware that I had a bit of time before work and wanted to visit lots of blogs… then stopped and concentrated on it 🙂

Mars xx
Mars recently posted…A is for Addiction & Adventures

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:24 am

Thank you Mars! I am honored!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Annette April 1, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Great topic! I am sharing this on my site! I will do some posts in the future answering your questions and credit you with a link back. Is that ok with you? Following you for this challenge.

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:28 am

That would be lovely, Annette! Do let me know when you do! Thank you.
Vidya Sury recently posted…Filled With Gratitude

Dahlia April 1, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Determined to be more mindful and live in the present moment! Enjoyed reading the article – thank you for sharing.
Dahlia recently posted…A = Alta

Vidya Sury April 1, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Thank you, Dahlia! Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…ABC of Mindfulness

My Era April 1, 2016 at 1:15 pm

I am so going to love your posts on Mindfulness because I can’t help but relate to the very logical points you’ve made.
I totally agree that it’s not about being in an ideal situation or frame of mind and neither is it about being mindlessly positive without taking a moment to analyze the situation.
Loved the start of this journey into our being 🙂
Looking forward to what’s in store tomorrow <3
My Era recently posted…Attention

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:50 am

Thank you My Era! Mindfulness is a lovely practice and I am enjoying my journey with it since several years now. Hugs! Loved your A post!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

seena April 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Great post as always. And much needed for our generation. Really hoping that I am able to move from mindless to mindful through your inspiring posts!

Seena from
Thinking Aloud

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:51 am

Thank you Seena! Good news is, we all can if we choose to be mindful!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Filled With Gratitude

Geets April 1, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Wonderful activity to engage the readers.. Lovely!
And mindfulness.. Truly an enlightening write-up.. It makes us do positive things and help us stay and be where we are.. 🙂


Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:51 am

True, Geets! 🙂 Thank you for your comment!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Why Forgiveness Heals

Michelle Wallace April 1, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Mindfulness is the new black – that phrase is so relevant! 🙂
Thanks for the reminder to live in the moment with purpose and a sense of focus.
Michelle Wallace recently posted…A is for A Change Of Mind + Alligators Overhead + A Shot In The Light

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:52 am

Thank you Michelle! Happy AtoZ-ing!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Why Forgiveness Heals

Shilpa Garg April 1, 2016 at 2:46 pm

What can you do today to be kinder to yourself?
1. I am going to think about things that I appreciate about myself.
2. Laugh a bit more… The guys at Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men can help me with that.
3. Though the situation is distressing me… but I am going to let go and practice patience and calm.
4. Be not very critical of self.
5. Change my way of thinking for a certain issue.

Thanks for this wonderful exercise, Vidya. I am feeling much better already! 🙂
Shilpa Garg recently posted…Acceptance #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z

Vidya Sury April 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm

You had me at Two and a half men, Shilpa, it is one of my all-time favorite shows. Five excellent ways to be kinder to yourself – thank you so much for sharing your response to the question! Love, Vidya
Vidya Sury recently posted…ABC of Mindfulness

Inderpreet Kaur Uppal April 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm

Such a wonderfully detailed post on mindfulness. I love the ABC and this part was too good. “Mindfulness is NOT about being irritatingly positive all the time, no matter what. (Can you imagine? Facebook and other social media would have to shut down, no?)”
People usually think it is!
Inderpreet Kaur Uppal recently posted…The Book of Adam – Hypnotic by Iris Bolling

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:30 am

Thanks Inderpreet! The easiest things are often the toughest to do! I loved that definition too! Thing is, subjects like mindfulness appear very lofty – except they’re simple every day habits!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Kaddu April 1, 2016 at 4:27 pm

My usual state is that of mind-fullness instead of mindful-ness!
Coming to your question…
Kinder to myself?
1. Take care of my health (eat right)
2. Take things easy on this challenge.
3. Make time daily for self Reiki.
4. Have more conversations with those who love me.
5. Exercise.
Kaddu recently posted…A to Z of Happiness: A – Acceptance #atozchallenge @AprilAtoZ

Vidya Sury April 1, 2016 at 4:38 pm

I love the “self” awareness part of mindfulness as most of us look outside and take a long time to look within. 🙂 There’s a reason why charity begins at home – unless we’re in a good place, how can we do good for others? I like that you put health at no.1 – it is the only real wealth we can create. Thank you Chicky! I am glad you’re along for the A to Z and your theme? Wowowow!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Filled With Gratitude

Mithila Menezes @Fabulus1710 April 1, 2016 at 5:04 pm

I love this theme, and will surely stick around till the end of April to complete this journey towards mindfulness!
There’s just this one thing I want to change about myself right now- I don’t want to doubt myself and my abilities. I hope I’ll be able to change that.

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:32 am

Mithila, it just takes a change of perspective to see yourself as capable, most of the time. You ARE capable of whatever you wish to be. 🙂 Believe it!

Thanks for coming by and your kind comment!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Roshan Radhakrishnan April 1, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Wow.. I gotta be honest. I like to think I overthink on everything but I had honestly never considered this point of view. And sadly, I really need to work on being more mindful of myself.
Roshan Radhakrishnan recently posted…Know Your Show: Agents of SHIELD #AtoZChallenge

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:35 am

🙂 It is a process, Roshan and I am sure you’ll get there. That’s what makes life interesting, no? All the best!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Sheethalsusan April 1, 2016 at 5:15 pm

What can you do today to be kinder to yourself?
1. Read
2. Have some me time.
3. Take a proper weekend off after a long time
4. Talk with my bestfriend.

Thanks for this 🙂
Sheethalsusan recently posted…A for …. #AtoZChallenge2016

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:53 am

That’s a lovely list, Sheethal! Make sure you take action! I’d make a beeline for no.4! 😀
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Sunila Vig April 1, 2016 at 6:39 pm

Love the post Vidya and what a superb and necessary theme. Mindfulness is usually on my mind and I try to practise it as much as possible, while teaching yoga and while at home. Love n all the best with the challenge 🙂

LuAnn Braley April 1, 2016 at 6:57 pm

I am not terribly skilled at being in the moment, but I am learning. I am easily distractible. So one thing I can do to make my day easier is clear the snack detritus from my desk. :p

LuAnn (approx #374 on the list) @ Back Porchervations
(and one of co-host AJ Lauer’s #wHooligans)
LuAnn Braley recently posted…All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth – #atozchallenge

Rajlakshmi April 1, 2016 at 7:05 pm

You know what, your posts on mindfulness is always like a reminder … Overtime I read it I am like – Damn didn’t I promise myself to be more mindful. That’s how mindless I am. Wonderful points there. I seriously need to to print few out and keep it on my desk.
Rajlakshmi recently posted…Adventurous Foodie is Back #atozchallenge

Cheryl April 1, 2016 at 8:48 pm

What a beautiful post! I am so needful of this. The little ABC reminder is something I need to write down and put on my bathroom mirror! I read on Music & Words that you’re from Bangalore, India. Our daughter is from Bangalore. She’s an awesome woman, too! 😀

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:47 am

Thank you Cheryl! Does your daughter live in Bangalore now? Hugs!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Shalini April 1, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Never thought this way. Inspiring post, Mam. I have a lot to learn. Will keep coming back!
Shalini recently posted…“Aunty, You’re so Pretty!” #AtoZChallenge

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:48 am

Thank you Shalini, pretty lady!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Soumya April 1, 2016 at 9:49 pm

I know I have a full mind, but now I’ll try to be mindful 🙂

I’ve got the ABC right so far. And with awesome friends like you, I’m sure I’ll get to Z in no time.

Love you!
Soumya recently posted…A: Airports #AtoZChallenge

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:49 am

Hehe, hugs, Soumya! I think you rock!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Susan April 1, 2016 at 10:00 pm

lovely post and reminder Vidya thank you! I didn’t score too well on the questions so that was a wake up call .
Susan recently posted…A-Z begins!

Nibha April 1, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Perfect! I found the key, now all I need to do it just practice it daily! 😀
Nibha recently posted…Arriving Late #AtoZChallenge

C. Lee McKenzie April 1, 2016 at 10:28 pm

My practice helps me attend to my peaceful and loving wolf. I so appreciate words like the ones you’ve sent our way today because it extends that practice into another day and brings me to mindfulness and my breath.

Thanks, Vidya

G Angela April 1, 2016 at 10:38 pm

what a lovely post vidya, glad to read this post and am happy, its a reinforcement for me; last month attended a workshop on mindfulness and enjoyed re learning to practice the art of being mindful. The video was great and thanks for the tips to rate oneself… thanks for sharing !!

Parul April 1, 2016 at 11:11 pm

What a lovely post! I loved that little quiz at the end and so very important to not have a full mind but be mindful of all that we do. I love how you put words around thoughts so beautifully!
Parul recently posted…A for AdaCamp #AtoZChallenge

Darla M Sands April 1, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Thank you for sharing the checklist! I’m on the A to Z Challenge list at #1340 today. Best wishes! – Darla
Darla M Sands recently posted…A is for Avenged Sevenfold

Yolanda Renee April 1, 2016 at 11:40 pm

I was here earlier, but it didn’t accept my comment. Arg…

Still, thanks for posting. See you later!
Yolanda Renee recently posted…A – ANAKTUVUK PASS

Shubhangi April 1, 2016 at 11:49 pm

I read the list and realised I am a robot! that’s pretty much how I’m doing things! I need this mindfulness more than ever Vidya! Plenty of food for my thought.
Shubhangi recently posted…A for Ayurveda

Elixired April 2, 2016 at 1:52 am

Too much to learn from the post today. It will help me to be self aware whenever I deviate!

Andrea April 2, 2016 at 1:57 am

With so many things happening not just in the real world but jn my head as well, I admit that mindfulness is not my forte. Ppl jeep saying it helps though so sooner or later I’ll have to make an effort to try it ?

Birgit April 2, 2016 at 5:02 am

I love the small video with the wolves and glad the gentle wolf is in blue:) I think, at this time, I do practice mindful living as much as I can but there is always room for improvement. When we need to practise this is when we are under a lot of stress and this is the time we forget to do it.
Birgit recently posted…The A To Z Challenge…It’s Here! The Letter A

Jo-Ann Carson April 2, 2016 at 5:16 am

It was a pleasure to read your inspiriting post and look forward to reading many more.
Best Wishes
Jo-Ann Carson
Lovin’ Danger blog (part of the A2Z Challenge)

Debbie D April 2, 2016 at 5:48 am

I can be “absent-minded” a lot of the time and didn’t fare all that well on your test. Recently, I received a loud wake-up call regarding my health and your post is a further reminder. Thanks, Vidya! 🙂
Debbie D recently posted…A is for AIREDALE TERRIER | #AtoZChallenge

Nicki April 2, 2016 at 8:37 am

<3 Yes, I definitely think I'll be trying to visit your blog daily. A lovely post, and timely for me. 🙂
@niicki from OfftheBeatenPlan.com & IVEYbooks.com
Nicki recently posted…A is for Absolutely no desire to write

Kalpanaa April 2, 2016 at 9:04 am

Well said, Vidya. I like your tip ‘ What 5 things can I do to be kinder to myself?’
Wonderful post.

Good luck for the A to Z Challenge.

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:54 am

Thank you Kalpana!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

themoonstone April 2, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Mindfulness that I keep trying to practice..sometimes I succeed and sometimes I slip up. But every time I practice it, I realize that it is so much constructive when I am in the ‘present’ , being in the moment so to say. Enables one to be so constructive.
Btw, thanks for that amazing visualization post you shared some time back. I have been trying to practice it and cure my insomnia which I get at times. Been practicing trying to sleep faster using visualization techniques and have noticed a great improvement 🙂
themoonstone recently posted…Teaspoon

Maya Jain April 2, 2016 at 2:23 pm

It was one of my resolutions for last year and it got me through a whole host of tough times. This is a lovely post. And your blog is definitely going to be in my list of daily hops!
p.s I grinned today! 🙂

Monica Deshpande April 2, 2016 at 9:20 pm

A beautiful article, Vidya, and a perfectly timed reminder as the A-Z frenzy takes over my life. 🙂 Thank you! It’s so you.
Love and hugs.

Vidya Sury April 3, 2016 at 12:55 am

Frenzy is right, Monica! 🙂 I am juggling four blogs this time and loving it! All the best to you! Thank you so much for coming by!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Mindful Living #AtoZChallenge

Lori April 3, 2016 at 7:35 am

Wonderful post, Vidya. I was taught mindfulness for depression therapy and it has become a daily practice now. Thank you! I will be spreading the word on this post 🙂
Have a great weekend!

Vasantha Vivek April 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Fantastic start, Vidya !!! ABC of Mindfulness – Superb !!! I have printed the checklist …… Happy to read your posts !!!
Vasantha Vivek recently posted…Weekly Discussion : What Is Your Favorite Holiday Destination?

Suzie Cheel April 4, 2016 at 1:31 am

Love the video and your graphic and the ABC, now 5 ways i can be kinder to me I am off to journal on
Suzie Cheel recently posted…April Heart Whisper Oracle Card Reading

Vishal Bheeroo April 4, 2016 at 1:21 pm

I am quite unmindful Vidya when it comes to concentration…too many things at hand!! Enjoyed reading your A letter and I am sure it will help many of us to buckle up on the state of A for Awareness:)
Vishal Bheeroo recently posted…C for Coffee

Vidya Sury April 4, 2016 at 2:11 pm

We are all pretty much on the path to mindfulness, Vishal! Intentions strong, actions lagging behind. The important thing is that we’re willing! 🙂 Thank you for visiting. And you know I am running over to your place -you said the C word!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Business and Mindfulness

Pratikshya April 4, 2016 at 1:38 pm

I liked the post a lot.. I try doing some mindful living but lose sight of it after a few days.. I have been trying to inculcate these in my daily life.. progressing little by little.. this weekend I clicked pictures of all that made me happy- my favorite nailpaint, a novel that I was reading, simple dish of spinach mother made at home, sprouts I ate for evening snack, and the sunset sky from terrace.. 🙂

Sandra Pawula April 6, 2016 at 6:48 am

This is a terrific explanation of mindfulness, Vidya. I love the sense of humor you brought into the post.


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