In our busy lives we constantly have our head full or thoughts about the future or about the past - what are we going to do next or what are we going to become. This means we're often not that aware of what is around us, and what happening in the here and now. So there's likely to be a lot good stuff that we miss (or not so good stuff that we really need to be aware of).
Being mindful means being more fully aware of what is around us - what we can see, hear, touch and taste. And what is happening inside - our thoughts and feelings. It's about learning to observe all this but not getting caught up in thinking or worrying about it, so being able to choose what we then attend to.
Mindfulness has been proven to help us be healthier, less affected by stress, more relaxed, more creative, more open to learning, sleep better, improve our relationships with others and feel happier and more satisfied with our lives.
Actions for Happiness
When you are doing something pleasurable such as taking a warm shower or bath, petting you dog or cat, stroking your child's hair or sitting down for a moment of peace, be really present. Really notice what it is you find pleasurable about the experience and how it makes you feel.
When we walk we tend to rush from A to B. As you walk, focus your attention on the soles of your feet and how they feel as each in turn touches the ground. From your heel as it lands and through to your toes as you move to the other foot. Notice where your weight is, the texture of the ground on your feet and how this changes as you walk, how warm or cold your feet are, the noise your feet make as you walk…
Start by really looking at what you are about to eat. What colours can you see in it? What does the texture look like? What is the shape like?
Then pick it up. How does it feel in your hands? What does the shape and texture feel like? Is it the same all over? Can you smell it?
If it is wrapped or needs peeling, open the wrapper or peel it slowly. Notice the sound, smell and feel as you do. What colours and texture do you now see?
Take a small bite - but don't chew! Notice how it feels in your mouth. What is the texture? What can you already taste? If you move it around your mouth does this change?
Then start to eat. Feel the texture and notice all the flavours as you chew the food slowly and as you swallow.
Do not think about the next mouthful until you have swallowed the one before. You may find it helpful to put your piece of fruit down or your bar of chocolate (or your cutlery if using) down between each mouthful.