Ten Tips on Reading (Anything) Mindfully
1. If you are on a computer or mobile device most of your day, consider choosing a print book. Consider borrowing one from your library to save money and support your library. You could also find a Free Little Library (https://littlefreelibrary.org/) in your area to borrow a book. Feel the paper. Smell the book. Close it when you want to reflect or take a break. Use a bookmark you love or create a bookmark you can fall in love with.
2. Find and dedicate time for reading. Ten dedicated minutes is better than one distracted hour.
3. Find a comfy spot but not so comfy that it makes you sleepy. Limit distractions (phone, Zoom, people, noise, etc.). Listen to ambient sounds such as ocean waves if it helps you relax and concentrate (from YouTube or an app such as Insight Timer, insighttimer.com/).
4. Before you start, use a short grounding exercise to come into the present moment (find your breath, find another anchor in your body, use all five senses to become aware of your surroundings such as identifying five objects you see, four things you can touch near you or one you, three sounds you hear, two things you smell, and one thing you taste).
5. Reading is reading. Skimming is skimming. Decide which you want or need to do and stick with it.
6. Do not try to multitask. Focus.
7. Pause to reflect. Look up words you do not know. Savor the words.
8. Allow and accept that your attention will wander. Simply come back to the text without judging yourself. This is part of being human!
9. If it feels like it is a chore or you are not interested, return to it another day. If you try again and you feel the same, let it go for now or forever. There are more books (and other things to read) than you will ever have time to read.
10. Take a moment to be grateful for the opportunity to read: for your literacy, for the time you are able to dedicate to it, to the privilege of having access to the material.