The 10 Tenets of Mindfulness + 3 Exercises to Help You Get Started

These are the ground rules* for practicing mindfulness, both in using this book and beyond. They are attitudes or frames of mind that help cut through some of the challenges that keep us from being fully present in our lives:

  1. Here now

Anytime you’re swept away in thoughts about the past or future, notice that your mind has drifted off and gently bring your attention back to the present moment—by focusing on an anchor such as your breath, a specific part of your body, or sounds.

  1. Nonjudging

Practice paying attention to your thoughts and the judgments your mind tends to make. Don’t try to stop or resist them; just curiously notice them. The mind is like a label maker.

[Gretchen Rubin Explains How Mindfulness Can Make You Happier]

  1. Patience

The Mindfulness Project I Am Here NowHave patience with the way your experience with mindfulness unfolds. Also have patience with each moment, even when it’s uncomfortable and your mind would rather rush to the next. Be patient with the wandering nature of your mind. Treat it as you would a puppy being trained to sit.

  1. Be kind to yourself

Be gentle and treat yourself with kindness. Mindfulness allows us to recognize and turn toward some painful thoughts and emotions. In those moments, it can help to adopt an attitude of compassion toward ourselves—just like you would turn with warmth and kindness to a friend who might be having a rough time.

  1. Beginner’s mind

Sometimes the mind likes to think it has seen all there is to see or that it knows all it needs to know. Let’s call it the “Know-It- All Mind.” Try returning to every exercise and practice, and even each moment, with a new sense of curiosity, and stay open to discovery. That’s when real surprises and magic happen.

[What Happens to the Brain During Meditation?]

  1. Trust

Trust your own basic wisdom and intuition. This doesn’t mean always trusting your thoughts. Mindfulness will help you see that those come, go, and change.

  1. Nonstriving

Sometimes we come to mindfulness hoping to solve our problems or change and improve ourselves. But this sense

of wanting things to be different can be an obstacle to truly experiencing mindfulness. The practice of mindfulness is not about being somewhere else or different, but rather just being with and accepting what’s here now.

  1. Acceptance

Accept that things are the way they are in each moment. That doesn’t mean they won’t change or can’t be changed. Pain x Resistance = Suffering Pain = Pain

  1. Letting go

Practice letting go of clinging to ideas, thoughts, control, or wanting things to be a certain way. Notice what it feels like in your body when you’re clinging vs. letting go.

[5 Simple Steps for Easily Starting a Meditation Practice]

  1. Commitment

Mindfulness is a practice, but it’s not just meditation. We can take mindfulness into all aspects of our lives. Make a commitment to both meditating and practicing mindfulness as a way of living/being.

*These are adapted from Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn.


Whether you are new to mindfulness or an experience meditator, there is so much to discover in each moment. Here are cues and tools to help you approach your moment-to-moment experience with a renewed send of curiosity—and document it with creativity. Keep the frames of mindfulness in mind while doing these exercises:

[5 Ways to Make Meditation Less Intimidating]

Surround Sound Mindfulness Project Meditation Exercise

[Try This 5-Minue Change-Focused Meditation Great for the Summer]

Mindfulnuss Project Exercise 2

[Read Maria Shriver’s latest ‘I’ve Been Thinking’ essay]

Mindfulness Project Exercise 3

Check back soon for more mindfulness exercises to experiment with!


Excerpted from I AM HERE NOW by The Mindfulness Project with the permission of TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2016 by The Mindfulness Project.

{Image credit: Picjumbo}

About the Author

author image

ALEXANDRA FREY and AUTUMN TOTTON are the founders of The Mindfulness Project and authors of I AM HERE NOW: A Creative Mindfulness Guide and Journal. The Mindfulness Project is a platform for teaching and spreading mindfulness, which is done through a center in London and internationally through a range of online programs. Its team of expert teachers runs eight-week courses to build the essential skills of mindfulness and also offers advanced courses, drop-in classes, workshops, and interactive online seminars on a range of mindful-living topics.

Read more from Alexandra Frey and Autumn Totton

Sign Up for's Weekly Must-Read

More Posts from Architects of Change