3 simple ways to be more mindful
Updated: Jan 30
Mindfulness. What is it?
Mindfulness has become a buzzword, and it’s easy to jump to conclusions about what it means. But far from sitting in silence and meditating cross-legged on a cushion for hours, it’s simple, powerful and accessible to everyone.
My favourite way to describe mindfulness is ‘paying attention.’ Being aware of what is happening in the present moment, without feeling a need to change it. As John Kabat-Zinn says, “Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”
I often think of it like your position on a football pitch. You can be stood in the centre, amidst all the chaos and unable think straight because there’s so much going on… or you can be stood at the sidelines, outside of the chaos and able to get a clear view of what’s happening. By viewing our present moment experience as a witness, we gain a new perspective and see life with fresh eyes.
And the beauty of this is that you can use it in all areas of your life. We can all bring awareness to the actions we take, the people we meet and the things we see each day, and by doing so we practice mindfulness. We practice waking up to the incredible life we have.
Here are three simple ways to bring mindfulness into your day, which you can do anytime, anywhere. I’d encourage you to give them a try and notice your experience!
Follow your breath
Take a moment to sit down, get comfortable and focus on your breathing. Simply notice each inhale and each exhale, resting your attention on your natural breath. Whenever thoughts distract you (and they will!), notice this has happened and gently guide your focus back to the breath. Stay for a minute or two, and then notice how you feel.
Take your time
When we bring mindfulness into our everyday activities, we start to take more care and attention over simple actions. Take washing up for example - take time to slow down and enjoy the process of cleaning, with no need to rush. Washing the dishes might not feel such a chore anymore.
Tune in to your senses
Sit for a minute or so and slowly go through each of your five senses. Notice what you can see around you. Notice each of the sounds you can hear nearby. Notice what you can smell. Notice any sensation of taste. Notice what you can feel physically. Connecting with our senses is a great way to practice developing our awareness and ability to be present.
There are so many ways to develop a practice of mindfulness, and if you’d like to learn more I’d recommend the book Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. It’s a fantastic starting point for understanding how it works and developing a regular practice.
I believe mindfulness is an incredible, practical tool we can all use to improve our everyday experience, and I’m always happy to chat more about it. Come and ask me at class anytime!