Most of the time our minds are full of thoughts and feel- ings that take us away from what is happening right now.
We don’t “wake up and smell the coffee” because we are too busy worrying about the bill that’s just arrived in the post to no- tice the delicious aroma.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to ex- perience being mindful in the moment is to pause whatever you are doing, take a few slow deep breaths (closing your eyes for a moment if it’s safe to do so), and no- tice all the physical sensations of your breath filling and emptying from your body.
Pausing, breathing and noticing your breath for a few moments like this is in- stantly soothing and refreshing. When you open your eyes again, you will feel a bit different – maybe a lot different!
Find two or three regular times in the day to practice this, for example, sitting down with your first morning cuppa, traveling on or waiting for the train, at the end of your lunch break, when you get in from taking the kids to school, just before going to bed.
Before you read any further, take a mo- ment right now to decide when in the day YOU will practice ‘pause, breathe, notice’ and flip your mindfulness switch on.
As well as having an immediate effect, practicing ‘pause, breathe and notice’ brings more and more spontaneous expe- riences of calm mindfulness into other parts of your everyday life.
You can also play with extending your mindfulness to other things other than the breath. The principle is the same – allow yourself to become fully absorbed in the physical sensations of whatever you are doing, for example, while you are walking, eating, making love, being in nature or even doing housework.
Mindful walking – the whole body moving, all the things you sense around you Mindful eating – enjoying every mouthful, every taste and texture
Mindful love-making – being fully present with the sensations rather than thinking Mindful being in nature – appreciating beauty, contrast, shape and colour Mindful housework – aware of all your movements, like a dance.