Grab my notes from “Meditation and Mindfulness” and see what Andy Puddicombe (the founder of Headspace) has to say about being present.

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From Pain Catastrophizing to Meditation

I have had a fascination with meditation and mindfulness ever since I struggled with chronic pain. My illness left me panicky, worried, and anxious at all times so I could never stay in the moment or deal with it in baby steps. Everything went immediately to worst-case scenarios and what-ifs.

While my pain has improved (or at least my reaction to it), this year has thrown us all into a loop in how we deal with fear and anxiety. You may not be dealing with physical pain like I do, but to some degree, we all deal with some form of worry.

The best way I have learned to combat my own anxiety is through learning about meditation and mindfulness–the practice of being present in the moment so you can learn how to deal with your thoughts in a healthy way. Mindfulness encompasses so much more than gratitude and slowing down, and I feel like there’s no better teacher to get you started on this than Andy Puddicombe, the founder of my favorite app, Headspace.

Andy’s book, “Meditation and Mindfulness” walks you through his story as a college dropout turned circus performer turned monk—yes, you read that right—and how he learned about the transformative practice of meditation.

His story takes the intimidation out of meditation and then equips you with realistic tools for helping you cultivate a healthier mental state through simple daily practices.


My Notes From Meditation and Mindfulness

What Do People Use Meditation For?

  • To relieve day-to-day stress
  • As a way to practice mindfulness and learning to be present
  • As a tool for deeper spiritual growth
  • To also help improve relationships with others

Sample Practices in the Headspace App

  • Practice do nothing
  • Tune into your senses
  • Observe your physical sensations
  • Focus on good and then bad sensations
  • Awareness of your feelings
  • Mental body scan

Analogies for Dealing with Your Thoughts

  • Busy Highway (learning not to chase the cars, but simply observe and let them pass by)
  • Blue Sky (the thoughts may come and go, but the blue sky is always there if you look for it)
  • The Wild Horse (reigning in your thoughts slowly and gently instead of with force and anger)

Research on Meditation and Mindfulness

Many mental health professionals recommend mindfulness-based meditation techniques to their patients because:

  • Meditation triggers areas of the brain related to happiness.
  • Mindfulness reduces negative emotions.
  • Meditation lowers the stress response in the body.
  • Mindfulness helps with reducing anxiety.
  • Meditation helps with pain sensitivity.
  • Meditation helps combat destructive impulses.
  • Mindfulness helps you focus on tasks.
  • Meditation aids in falling asleep.
  • Meditation also helps improve age-related mental declines.

Basic Steps to a Meditation Practice

  1. First, get comfortable.
  2. Next, start with deep breathing.
  3. Then, count your breaths (this is where the longest part of the practice and focus is)
  4. Before you end, let the mind wander for a minute.
  5. Finally, gently open your eyes.

Examples of Mindfulness During the Day

Being mindful simply means that you’re giving full attention to whatever you’re doing. It’s a practice of being present in the moment, instead of thinking about where you’d rather be or wishing things were different. Here are a few examples:

  • “Walking meditation” where you observe the things around you without getting distracted by your thoughts
  • Giving your full and undivided attention to someone when they’re speaking instead of waiting for your chance to talk
  • Enjoying an activity your kids choose to do together instead of wishing they’d pick something different
  • Eating a meal without watching TV or checking your phone
  • Absorbing yourself in a good book on Sunday night rather than stressing that it’s almost Monday morning
  • Being in tune with the smells while cooking a meal instead of rushing to get it done

10 Skills of Meditation in Headspace

  1. Perspective
  2. Communication
  3. Appreciation
  4. Kindness
  5. Compassion
  6. Balance
  7. Acceptance
  8. Composure
  9. Dedication
  10. Presence

Order the Book

To order your own copy of “Meditation and Mindfulness” by Andy Puddicombe, click here:

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Happy Reading!

Andy from headspace

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