16 Mindfulness Quotes When You Need to Quiet Your Mind
Being present and mindful may help quiet the chatter in your brain and come back to your center.
Center yourself with mindfulness quotes
Our entire world is in uncharted territory right now and that can feel very frightening and out of control. But each of us has a powerful mental tool we can use to restore our equilibrium, says Vernon Williams, MD, neurologist and founding director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles and consulting neurologist for the Los Angeles Rams. That secret weapon is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is simply focusing and guiding your attention. And while it may sound easy, it isn’t just a pop culture buzzword. It’s one of the best ways to help your brain adapt to and manage stress.
“This is not just some passive breathing exercise. It is a significant brain-training resource,” Dr. Williams says. “Achieving control of your thoughts so that your thoughts don’t control you can be a super-power for many people.”
Health benefits of mindfulness
The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are mental and physical, including improved immunity, better heart health, less depression and anxiety, and sharper cognitive skills.
One of the biggest benefits of being mindful is how it enriches every other aspect of your life, mentally and physically, by helping you to make better choices, says Joshua Felver, PhD, professor of psychology at Syracuse University and director of the Mind Body Laboratory. “Regularly practicing mindfulness gives you the opportunity to take a step back from stressors so you have the space to respond adaptively, and not react in ways that can ultimately be harmful,” he says.
“Mounting empirical evidence has shown that mindfulness practices reduce the experience of stress and improve immune system functioning, and thus offer a unique tool for improving one’s body and mind even in trying circumstances,” Felver explains.
One way mindfulness works is by helping to quiet the autonomic, or “fight or flight,” system, triggering a cascade of calming brain chemicals, Dr. Williams adds.
How to practice mindfulness
There’s no one right way to be mindful, Dr. Williams says. Some people find it easiest to be mindful while sitting alone in a quiet place while others prefer a moving meditation, like running or hiking outdoors. Some people follow a guided meditation while others do best simply counting their breaths. The key is to find what works best for you and—this is the important part—make time to do it every day, he says.
Mindfulness isn’t something that happens. It’s a learned skill, that you develop over time with practice, Dr. Felver says. If it sounds a little daunting, know you’re not alone; it’s one of those things that many people know they “should” do but have a hard time remembering to do it, he adds. Sound like you? Start with these morning brain exercises to clear your mind.
One way to find the inspiration you need to start your own daily mindfulness practice is by reading mindfulness quotes.
Let it be
“It’s not a matter of letting go—you would if you could. Instead of ‘let it go’ we should probably say ‘let it be’.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD, Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and creator of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) technique
Mindfulness isn’t about escaping negative emotions or painful experiences but learning how to feel peace amidst them. If you’re having a hard time finding that peace, try focusing your attention on one of these phrases to calm anxiety.
Focused attention leads to productive action
“Mindfulness is about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion for life, and your actions happen in accordance with that.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD
(Here’s how to practice mindfulness for better sleep.)
Head to the hills
“Adopt the pace of nature: Her secret is patience.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and writer
The ability to inspire mindfulness and bring a sense of peace is just one reason why scientists call being outdoors in nature a “miracle medicine” for your brain.
(Here are the benefits of nature.)
The secret to happiness
“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.” — Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist
Many people have touted different “secrets” for lasting happiness, but the real secret is that it will be a little different for each person, and being mindful can help you find your own secret to happiness.
Age is just a number
“The older you get, the more ‘mindfulness’ becomes about trying to remember why you came upstairs.” — Victoria Coren Mitchell, English writer
Some days mindfulness comes more easily than others. But practicing mindfulness is one of the memory exercises proven to help your brain stay sharp as you age.
Silence can be deafening
“Some of the greatest battles will be fought within the silent chambers of your own soul.” — Ezra Taft Benson, religious leader and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Being alone with your thoughts can be scary but mindfulness teaches you how to accept all your thoughts in a non-judgmental and compassionate way.
(Here’s how to practice self-compassion in all areas of your life.)
Stay your course
“Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.” — Omar N. Bradley, American general
It’s easy to get caught up in what other people want and lose sight of what you want and need. Mindfulness is one way to refocus your priorities. Short on time? Try one of these 8 mini-meditations.
Honesty with kindness
“Buddhist mindfulness is about the present, but I also think it’s about being real. Being awake to everything. Feeling like nothing can hurt you if you can look it straight on.” — Krista Tippett, American journalist
Mindfulness affects every system in your body, helping you to heal from the inside out, Wolkin says.
(Check out these things that happen in your body after just 15 minutes of meditation.)
Perception is reality
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” — Henry David Thoreau, author
Being mindful can help you look beyond the surface to see what is really happening in everyday situations. This starts with you: Here are ways to be nicer to yourself.
It’s a revolution
“The mindfulness revolution is not quite as dramatic as the moon shot or the civil rights movement, but I believe, in the long run, it can have just as great an impact.” — Tim Ryan, U.S. congressman
Living mindfully can be a revolutionary act in a world that revolves around never-ending acquiring and consuming. What do you really need? What is the best way to get it? Doing this can help you stop feeling guilty all the time.
“Mindfulness means being aware of how you’re deploying your attention and making decisions about it, and not letting the tweet or the buzzing of your BlackBerry call your attention.” — Howard Rheingold, American writer
Divided attention is just one of the many ways your phone use affects your body and mind.
We are what we think
“Mindfulness can help people of any age. That’s because we become what we think.” Goldie Hawn, American actress
Mindfulness is about paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment to any activity, you engage in.
Childlike isn’t childish
“One of the great things about children is that they have no other concern than to be simply interested in things. It is the height of mindfulness to approach the world afresh like a child.” — John Dickerson, American journalist
Mindfulness can be as simple as thinking back to your childhood and doing something simple that you enjoyed then, like watching the clouds, throwing rocks into a puddle, or taking a slow wander around the block. Tap into your inner child with these 20 things you’re never too old to do.
Break bad habits
“Mindfulness is a way of being present: paying attention to and accepting what is happening in our lives. It helps us to be aware of and step away from our automatic and habitual reactions to our everyday experiences.” — Elizabeth Thornton, British-Canadian writer
One of the most powerful aspects of mindfulness is helping you to identify patterns or habits that aren’t working in your life and to fix them.
Find internal strength
“Mindfulness brings contentment not by consuming more externally, but by harvesting more from within and by sharing more without.” — Rohini Nilekani
If you’re finding meditation to be more frustrating than calming, make sure you’re not making these meditation mistakes that are stressing you out.
Focus on what you can control
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” — Epictetus, Greek philosopher
Storms come into every life—your only choice is how you’ll weather them. For more inspiration like these mindfulness quotes, read these meditation quotes to help you focus.
- Joshua Felver, PhD, professor of psychology at Syracuse University and director of the Mind Body Laboratory
- Vernon Williams, MD, neurologist and founding director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles and consulting neurologist for the Rams