Turn on, Tune in, Drop out
Take my daily Mindfulness Challenge to see how easy it is to feel better, no matter what the week flings at you. Is your life on a frantic auto-pilot? Up out of bed, shower, coffee and hit the road in a blur of activity? A morning of phones. emails and meetings – skid to a halt for a snatched sarnie, face a crowded rush home, to get a wash on, eat and watch TV before bed?
Mindfulness is research-proven way to live better – by paying attention and getting less judgy on yourself. You don’t need hours meditating to reap the rewards either. Use my Mindfulness Challenge to have a better day, and sleep well.
Stretch as you wake up in bed, just like kids and kittens do. Notice your feet touching the floor for the first time today.
Feel the warmth of water on your skin, refreshing and cleansing. Notice the scent of your shower gel and shampoo. Enjoy the fluffiness of your towel and the sensations of fabric on skin as you dress for the day ahead.
It’s all you can rely on in life. Your breathing – necessary but often overlooked. Treat yourself to a few nice easy breaths as you head off for the day, Feel it. Come back to your breathes your day heats up.
What sound surrounds you all day? Your heartbeat gets buried in the white noise and it’s a relief when gut rumbles are cloaked. How much sound do you need to obscure to focus on voices, calls, writing? Any pleasant sounds available? Is there ever a full silence?
Gobble and go
We all grab meals on the hoof. Eating to get fed, chewing mechanically, relieved when it’s done. Mindful eating shifts pounds when you focus on the taste, texture and smell of food you choose. Noticing your level of hunger. Starving, peckish or ‘it’s lunchtime?’ How’s your body reacting to the food? What does drinking taste like?
Slumped at the wheel, humped over the desk, trudging along a corridor lost in thought? Notice your posture. Oh, and the breathing, while you’re at it. Feel your feet connect with the surface. Allow your head to balance on top of your neck, feel the length of your spine.
Any points of tension in muscles? New or habitual discomforts? Ease out taut muscles with a yawny stretch. Stand up to get some blood circulating to the brain for a mental focus boost.
Listen and hear
Pay attention to talking and listening. How well do you listen? Can you do it attentively? Do you plan your pearl of wisdom as someone speaks, argue, disagree or rush them? How quickly do you speak? Awareness of how your body feels at meetings, before calls, on a one to one, or video calls grounds you – to focus and make sense. Remember you’ve got two ears and one mouth.
Greet and smile
Smiling exercises your face and makes you feel better. Add in a cheery ‘Hi’ and you’ve grabbed yourself a shot of feel-good hormone, Dopamine. Not bad for a 3-sec investment!
Focus on what you’re doing, as you do it. Refuelling the car, stopped at a light, in a line buying groceries, replying to a mail – focus on what you’re doing, no matter how mundane.
Where are your thoughts? Planning, worrying, remembering, rehashing? Escort your mind back to here and now. Look around, check it out. You’re ok.
As you fall into bed compose yourself for sleep. Luxuriate in the warmth and safety of your own bed, the familiar scents and sounds of your place. Ease yourself off to a good night’s sleep with some easy breaths, letting go of any bodily held tension.