All Of Mindfulness In One Breath

The benefits of practicing mindfulness already unfold with the first mindful breath and keep on growing with your practice. Discover the gifts of breathing mindfully.
Dr. Bertin is a developmental pediatrician, author, professor and mindfulness teacher.
mindful breath
Dr. Bertin is a developmental pediatrician, author, professor and mindfulness teacher.

Mindfulness is a marathon, not a sprint. The practice aims to change our daily lives – not accomplish an instant miracle. The idea is that by making mindfulness a habit, we build useful traits through repetition. The more we sit in meditation, the more we experience the benefits, many of which start to unfold with our first mindful breath.

The Gifts A Mindful Breath Holds For You

Focused Attention

Most of our lives are filled with distraction. Without effort, we’re here, but not here, caught up in thoughts of past, future, rumination, doubt, and far more. As we meditate, we instead focus on what’s actually going on during this breath.

Read more: Explore how mindful moments in your workday boost focus and productivity.


When not giving life our full attention, reactive habits drive how we live.   Whatever occurs during that mindful breath – boredom, agitation, anxiety, joy, or physical discomfort – instead of reacting we practice letting it be.

Perhaps we eat when we’re stressed. Maybe we ruminate or grab our phone in the face of some perceived discomfort. We pay a moment’s attention while aiming to stay patient with whatever we experience – before choosing what to do (or not do) next.


Guiding our attention while breathing allows us to observe the way our minds normally work. There are countless things we do and think out of habit, preconceived notions and assumptions about ourselves or the world. We start to address these mental ruts by first recognizing them. Whether we’re typically caught up in fear, craving, self-criticism, or anything else, those patterns start to become apparent while observing where our mind wanders around one single breath.

Read more: Hit the pause button and become aware of the present moment with a mindful check-in.

Skillful Action

The goal of mindfulness isn’t passive acceptance but rather becoming more selective in how we manage our lives. The more we practice, the more room we create for purposeful decisions. In another moment, we might speak up or act or work on a skill – or refrain from acting at all. Right now, we actively choose to pay attention for a breath of time.


Mindfulness teachers often tell you that everyone has a tough time keeping the mind still. Your job is simply to notice when your mind wanders and come back to the next breath without self-judgment. In other words, we give ourselves a break.

It’s easy to get caught up in self-criticism (I’m miserable at this, I can’t ever do it, I wasted ten minutes daydreaming), yet all we can do is come back to our intentions and try again. We may even develop a broader sense of compassion for others by first cutting ourselves some slack, working towards self-improvement without excessive harshness and judgment.

Everyone struggles with these practices in their own way – and in their own lives too. We notice each breath (or the next one or the one after that) with resolve and kindness.

Take a moment right now to ground yourself. Listen to these popular guided meditations by Dr. Mark Bertin:

  1. Breathing Meditation Mark Bertin MD 14:33
  2. Loving-Kindness Meditation Mark Bertin MD 17:48
  3. Breathing Meditation For Children And Teens Mark Bertin MD 8:05
  4. Mindfulness Practice To Build Nonjudgmental Awareness Mark Bertin MD 14:25
  5. Working with the Inner Critic Mark Bertin MD 12:20

Discover thousands of guided mindfulness meditation practices as well as anchoring breathing mediation practices to achieve a sense of calm.

One Mindful Breath At The Time

With each mindful breath we take, we can build all of these many traits. Attention and awareness. Staying settled when uncomfortable. Proactively managing our habits and assumptions. And compassion. All growing, one breath at time.

Read more:  A daily habit of meditation can start with 60 seconds. Discover different ways of practicing one-minute meditation to expand or grow your practice.

Meditation. Free.