Return to Mindfulness

Disrupting Default Habits for Personal Fulfillment, Effective Leadership, and Global Impact

Once or twice in a lifetime, you may come across a book that can change you in a most positive way. Return has this magic and more.

—Ron Hill, Ph.D
. Dean’s Professor of Marketing and Public Policy

It is full of practical, playful steps to systematically integrate mindfulness into your daily life, ways that Shalini herself has learned while practicing mindfulness as teacher and governmental leader. 

—Mirabai Bush
Author and Co-creator of Search Inside Yourself

The key to being mindful in the real world is not more meditation but rather fostering skills to disrupt default habits that get in the way of clarity and purposeful action in our daily lives.

About The Book

Mindfulness is our innate capacity to know what it means to be present, to see clearly, and to connect with ourselves and each other so that we can make fulfilling choices. The act of returning to mindfulness should be effortless, but persistent default habits can and do get in our way.

Many people successfully practice mindfulness through meditation for stress reduction but once back into daily life, the same people quickly lose momentum. The brief moments of calm just don’t last or manifest themselves in changes at personal or collective levels.

Shalini Bahl wants to change all that.


Why choose this book?


Take the free mindfulness assessment.


Try the mindfulness cards to practice in the real world after reading the book.


Guided meditations for each skill

Mirabai Bush

This book is like sitting next to a kind teacher who guides you through the many distractions of your mind and shows you ways to return to mindfulness, to non-judging awareness. It is full of practical, playful steps to systematically integrate mindfulness into your daily life, ways that Shalini herself has learned while practicing mindfulness as teacher and governmental leader. Whether you are new to mindfulness or have been practicing for decades, you’ll benefit from her guidance toward a calmer, clearer, more loving and compassionate life.


Author (with Ram Dass), Walking Each Other HomeCo-creator of Search Inside Yourself: Mindfulness-Based Emotional Intelligence at Google

Caroline Aller

One of the most remarkable aspects of Return to Mindfulness is its ability to seamlessly integrate mindfulness into one’s daily routines. It’s not a practice reserved for special moments; it’s a way of life that becomes a natural part of how one lives. The book offers practical exercises and insights that can effortlessly be incorporated into one’s day, helping to find clarity and self-awareness amid life’s overwhelmingly busy moments. Shalini Bahl’s expertise shines through as she demystifies the practice making it accessible to anyone, regardless of their prior experience. 

This guide equipped me with the tools to lead my company and staff with greater empathy, clarity, and authenticity. By integrating mindfulness into leadership practices, Return to Mindfulness not only fosters personal growth but also transforms organizations and communities, creating a ripple effect of positive change on a global scale.

Return is an essential companion for those seeking a more balanced, mindful, and meaningful existence. With its gentle guidance and profound insights, this book has the power to transform your life, making mindfulness not just a practice but a way of being. 

Caroline Aller, Founder and Clinical Director, Amherst Cognitive Therapy

Acharya Shunya

Return to Mindfulness is a delightful read that will open your heart and mind. Shalini Bahl shares profound yet practical wisdom that will inspire you to live with more meaning, compassion, and joy. This book is like having a wise friend gently guide you home to your best self.

– Acharya Shunya, Author Sovereign Self, Claim Your Inner Joy and Freedom with the Empowering Wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita

Author Thoughts

Dr. Bahl proposes that the way to be mindful in the real world beyond meditation is to foster eight mindfulness skills that disrupt habits that have been shaped by evolution and our environment. These default habits are what keep us rushing and reacting instead of seeing clearly and acting intentionally.

Return to Mindfulness offers a systematic yet playful plan for taking simple steps to return to mindfulness in the middle of everyday life, especially when it matters most: for real-world change. Each chapter is dedicated to one mindfulness habit/skill and includes six exercises to practice and play with during the day so we can replace default habits with mindful habits.

A common definition of mindfulness is the non-judging awareness that arises when we pay attention with purpose. However, when leaders have to make decisions, non-judging awareness can be confusing. Breaking down mindfulness into the eight skills allows leaders to overcome their biases and expand their perspective to include causes and conditions underlying their situations, their assumptions, others’ perspectives, their intentions, creative possibilities, and consequences of their choices in the long run.

Bahl’s eight mindfulness skills empower leaders to bring real-world change without burning out or burning bridges and they empower the rest of us to live, love, and work with clarity and care.