Gratitude and Compassion

Mindful Listening

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Tip 4 of 6 Mindfulness Exercises You Can Try Today

This exercise is designed to open your ears to sound in a non-judgmental way, and indeed to train your mind to be less swayed by the influence of past experiences and preconception.

So much of what we “feel” is influenced by past experience. For example, we may dislike a song because it reminds of us of a breakup or another period of life when things felt negative.

So the idea of this exercise is to listen to some music from a neutral standpoint, with a present awareness that is unhindered by preconception.

Select a piece of music you have never heard before. You may have something in your own collection that you have never listened to, or you might choose to turn the radio dial until something catches your ear.

mindful nurse listeningMindful Listening


  1. Close your eyes and put on your headphones.
  2. Try not to get drawn into judging the music by its genre, title or artist name before it has begun. Instead, ignore any labels and neutrally allow yourself to get lost in the journey of sound for the duration of the song.
  3. Allow yourself to explore every aspect of track. Even if the music isn’t to your liking at first, let go of your dislike and give your awareness full permission to climb inside the track and dance among the sound waves.
  4. Explore the song by listening to the dynamics of each instrument. Separate each sound in your mind and analyze each one by one.
  5. Hone in on the vocals: the sound of the voice, its range and tones. If there is more than one voice, separate them out as you did in step 4.

The idea is to listen intently, to become fully entwined with the composition without preconception or judgment of the genre, artist, lyrics or instrumentation. Don’t think, hear.

  1. Mindful Breathing
  2. Mindful Observation
  3. Mindful Awareness
  4. Mindful Listening
  5. Mindful Immersion
  6. Mindful Appreciation

Why Mindfulness Exercises?

The cultivation of moment-by-moment awareness of our surrounding environment is a practice that helps us better cope with the difficult thoughts and feelings that cause us stress and anxiety in everyday life.

With regular practice of mindfulness exercises, rather than being led on auto-pilot by emotions influenced by negative past experiences and fears of future occurrences, we harness the ability to root the mind in the present moment and deal with life’s challenges in a clear-minded, calm, assertive way.

In turn, we develop a fully conscious mind-set that frees us from the imprisonment of unhelpful, self-limiting thought patterns, and enables us to be fully present to focus on positive emotions that increase compassion and understanding in ourselves and others.

source: pocketmindfullness.com

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