How To Be Mindful When Reading

Do you ever find yourself sitting down to read, with every intention to focus but you find yourself re-reading the same few sentences over and over again?

This happens to me far too often. But I’m getting better and you can too.

Photo by Sam Lion on

I am a big believer in the power of reading daily to improve my overall well being.

Reading not only helps you learn, but it builds creativity and enhances feelings of calm and relaxation.

I know these things to be true, and yet I struggle to stay mindful during my 30 minute daily reading sessions. I can find myself feeling relatively focused yet I have to re-read a sentence or two, and sometimes even full paragraphs. What gives?

Short of a clinical diagnosis of a learning disability or attention disorder (which is common and usually treatable, and you should talk to your doctor if you think this is the case), this phenomenon is usually associated with stress, fatigue and a lack of mindfulness practice.

I definitely notice my mind wandering more when I am not well rested or well fueled. It’s important to make sure I don’t attempt to read too much when those two basic needs haven’t been met or I will end up very frustrated and read less overall.

The main thing that has improved my reading attention significantly is a regular meditation practice. My meditation practice is beyond simple.

All I do to check the box of meditation is set the timer for 3 minutes (that’s it!) a few times a day and count my breathing. I cannot tell you how much this re-energizes my brain and helps my attention, not only for reading but for all the other tedious tasks I need to get done each day.

In addition to meditation, I like to read right after exercise for optimal attention and retention of the material. Endorphins are flying after exercise and these hormones, along with others, light up your brain for better performance. This is true for your kids and it’s why we are such big believers in movement within school. It actually helps kids perform better.

And of course, the more you read, the better your reading skills will be. Setting up a daily goal of 20-30 minutes of reading per day can have a huge impact on your attention span and comprehension abilities.

These mindfulness tips also apply to better reading skills: The CAN Method for Mindfulness

If you have any other tips on how to improve reading retention and make the whole practice of reading more mindful, please share! And for more technical tips visit here:

Science Better Reading Retention

Good luck, and HAPPY MINDING!


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