Monday, August 28, 2017

Day 2872 - Mindfulness

Do you practise mindfulness?

I often encourage my clients to use mindfulness techniques, but I have to admit it doesn't happen naturally for me.  I have to work at it.

I wrote a paper on it once.

Rather than make up a bunch of new stuff, I thought I'd just share that paper with you instead.

(Don't say I never give you anything.)

No “whys” or “hows” …. Just “nows”.

As I coach people in business, life, study and relationships, I note that most anxieties relate to the “how” of the future, and the “why” of the past.  People are stressed about how they are going to pay their bills, how they are going to run a successful business, how they are going to get to the alter, how they are going to pass their exam, and much of this is based on why they failed previously. 

Focussing on the why of yesterday, combined with the how of tomorrow creates absolute fear and a lack of self belief.

It’s time to bypass the fear by being mindful of the present.

Mindfulness is being aware of and paying attention to the current moment.  Our past is behind us and our future is not here yet, so what exists now is where our mind must rest. 

Although mindfulness has its origins in Buddhism it is attracting increasing interest amongst clinical psychologists and psychiatrists as a means of dealing with anxiety, depression and stress.  It is used in some of the newer psychotherapeutic methods such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. 

The goal of mindfulness is to develop a lifestyle of participation with awareness. 

Being mindful can take the form of watching your own self-commentary as an observer rather than as the individual creating the self-talk, and therefore being able to remove yourself from the negative programming.   For example, as you sit in traffic complaining internally about the congestion, the actions of other drivers and the state of the roads, rather than raising your stress levels you can observe your self-commentary as a passenger sitting in the next seat and become mindful of your negative behaviour.  It’s a bit like watching yourself on film.  If you knew you were being filmed would you verbalise your anger for the world to see? Then why put yourself through that negative emotion?

 Mindfulness can take the form of cleansing your mind of the sea of “to dos” by focussing on the simplicity of the moment.  Living in the city it is easy to get caught up in the multitude of actions that are needed to get through a single day. Getting kids to school, driving the car, checking emails, answering the phone, cooking, washing, getting the car serviced, packing for that business trip, finishing that project on time, paying the bills, getting to your daughters dance recital.  If you were to live in a world without computers, phones, televisions, cars, work commitments and chores, do you think you would suffer the same stresses?  We have created these crazy hectic lives. 

To get back to basics all one needs to do is become mindful of how simple our lives can be. Climb a hill. Look at the grass, the trees, the sky, the animals. Become mindful of the moment.  Look at the wonders of nature and the wonders of our existence and be mindful of that moment.  The “to dos” suddenly become less important and therefore less stressful.

Being mindful can even take the form of cutting through habitual eating patterns and assist with weight loss.  How many of us eat at our computer, in front of the television, while reading a report or in the car while racing to the next appointment.  We usually eat while focussing on other tasks. Mindful eating brings the action of eating to the present as a core focus rather than as a habit.  By taking every meal and every snack out of the side-lines and bringing it to the absolute here and now, we can make healthy eating more intentional and participatory.  Sit down with your meal or your snack in silence.  Focus on the food.  Look at the texture, the size the colour. Smell it.  Savour the taste. Be mindful of every mouthful.  Food becomes a different experience when you are mindful of your eating.

Mindfulness is an activity that can be done at any time.  All you are doing is bringing the mind to focus on what is happening in the present moment, through observation of your own self-commentary.   

By being mindful of the present it is easier to let go of your past whys, to be less concerned about the hows of tomorrow and to de-stress your today. 

“If you let cloudy water settle, it will become clear. If you let your upset mind settle, your course will also become clear.” From Buddha’s Little Instruction Book.

Leanne Shea Langdown created Achieve Beyond so that she could be the change she would like to see in the world.  She coaches people to achieve happiness, success, purity of purpose and excellence. Leanne uses ancient wisdom as well as a variety of modern methods to assist others create the life they desire.  She is based in the Australian Capital Territory and successfully coaches her clients through career, business, relationships and study.   She is also a children’s book author specialising in confidence, resilience, health and fitness. You can follow her journey at and

Are you caught up in the "whys" and "hows" of life?

Too focussed on your yesterdays and tomorrows? 

Maybe it's time to practise some mindfulness.

Happy Monday! 


  1. I like the Cloudy Water settle quote. might use that. Nice paper.

  2. Just like Lydia said, that cloudy water is such a good visualisation for this!

  3. Watching your own self commentary is so difficult to do though! I'm pretty sure that we all just say things to ourselves without really thinking about it. Or at least I do. Sometimes I catch myself saying to myself things like "well that was stupid" etc. No wonder I'm constantly getting strange looks from people!

  4. Yes it's definitely time for mindfulness for me! I'm usually too caught up in getting everything done and stressing about the future to concentrate on the here and now.

    Di from Max The Unicorn

  5. I too wrote a paper on this, mind was part of my social work degree almost 10yrs ago. The Smiling Minds app is a brilliant tool for getting you started on mindfulness meditation.

  6. Oh dear. I really need to practice mindful eating... Oops. Thanks for sharing your paper.

  7. I've only been focusing on being more mindful since my grandson was born. He has taught me to just stop, breathe and enjoy the moment. Whether it be looking at spider webs or watching ants scurrying around. When I'm with him I'm not worried about the past or the future I just enjoy the moment and that has been a wonderful lesson for me.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  8. That was a great read, thank you for sharing! I hope that in this first week at home with one less child you are being kind to yourself...xx
    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. On Mon 11 Sept #LifeThisWeek turns one and that is the prompt! Next week: First car/bike.


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