Making mindfulness and meditation work

For years I have been reading about the world’s rich, famous and successful people all having one thing in common: they practice meditation and mindfulness.

Although meditation and mindfulness are different things, there is a mental training practice called mindfulness meditation, where the focus of the meditation is to remain in the present moment. However they are different, and here’s how…


· This is the art of stilling the mind

· Meditation can be seen as training the mind, or training your awareness

· You can train your mind to find a deeper state of being to find (an already present) inner peace

· The state of meditation is our natural state. You don’t have to look for anything, it’s already here, right now

· Meditation is not about stopping our thoughts

· It doesn’t require any special skill, anyone can do it, it’s universal

· Meditation is a practice, so it’s never perfect


· Mindfulness is simply ‘paying attention on purpose’

· Many of us go about our lives thinking we are our thoughts

· We are not our thoughts, we are the simply the observer of our thoughts

· When we are mindful, we can check in and see that our thoughts are not reality, they are just our perspective – our story if you like

· When you become mindful of your thoughts, you see them for what they are

· You can be mindful in any moment, from washing the dishes to eating your food. In fact, in any given moment we are either ‘lost in thought’ or we are ‘mindful’

Motivation to practise mindfulness

“You only have right now – take care of now and tomorrow will look after itself”


My meditation practice:

I do this in the morning as it sets me up for the day:

I grab a herbal tea first!

· I am very inflexible, so I sit on chair, back straight with my arms resting on my thighs with my palms facing up

· Depending on how I feel I may use an app to help guide me (my preferred app is Insight timer)

· Quite often I will just pick a random practice to follow

· If I don’t have much time, I will do 5 minutes, but normally 10-15 minutes

· I stretch my arms up and get comfortable

· I take 5 big deep breaths in and out – this calms me instantly

· I then inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds and then breath out for 5 seconds – I find this really relaxes me and slows my breathing down

· I then just follow my natural breathing pattern

· Thoughts constantly pop into my mind – I simply bring my focus back to my breath

How meditation impacts my day:

· Making meditation my priority makes me feel good – I know I am starting the day with a win

· Slowing my breathing down makes me feel calm and relaxed

· When I do miss my meditations, I can become irritable and restless, whereas after meditating I am able to brush off annoyances a lot more easily

· Ideas pop into my mind

· Solutions to problems are presented to me

· I have clarity of mind

· I procrastinate less


My mindfulness practice:

This is definitely an area of my life that I need to focus on as I tend to move quickly from one task to another without paying enough attention. You can think about the shape of your day and consider what areas you might need to improve on. I use mindfulness to help me:

· Focus on one task at a time

· Schedule tasks without deviating from these

· Understand that multi-tasking is a myth

· Block out distractions – ideally turning off my phone and notifications or ignore if it rings

· Genuinely listen to people without interrupting

· Look at people directly when communicating

How mindfulness impacts my day

Looking at the things I hope to achieve through mindfulness I would say that, as with all things, practise is vital so I am getting more successful in these areas.

· I complete tasks quicker but also the increased focus leads to a higher standard

· I am not pulled between different tasks quite so much

· I don’t procrastinate over difficult tasks – I use mindfulness to just get things done without over complicating each one

· People know that I am listening to them and I feel I have got so much more from each communication. To anticipate what someone means or is trying to convey without listening properly is not helpful to either of us

Putting mindfulness into practice

· Mindfulness can be practiced in almost every moment of the day – while you brush your teeth, while you wash the dishes or when you eat your breakfast

· Pick an ordinary activity. You might choose drinking your cup of coffee in the morning, taking a shower or putting on your clothes. If you wish, select an activity that occurs early in the day before your attention is pulled in many directions

· Choose one sensory experience to explore in the activity, such as the sensation of taste as you drink your coffee or the sensation of water touching your body while showering

· Immerse yourself in the experience, savouring it to the fullest. Return your mind to the sensations again and again when you notice it has wandered away

· Bring gentle, friendly awareness to the activity until it has been completed

· Try to bring mindful awareness to this same activity every day for a week

· If you find it hard to practice meditation regularly, practicing a few minutes of mindfulness informally each day can also build the habit of being aware in the present moment

Do you notice any way that bringing mindfulness into your everyday life changes things for you? It would be great to share any thoughts on this.

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