Pressing Pause Podcast Episode 4 How to take micro mindful moments in your day
Welcome to Pressing Pause, the podcast for overthinkers.
I’m Gabrielle Treanor and I’m a writer and teacher specialising in overthinking and overworrying. Here I share with you ideas, inspiration and actions to empower you to spend less time overthinking and worrying and more time enjoying your life.
Welcome to episode 4 and in today’s episode I’m talking about mindfulness – how it can be of benefit to us and how to integrate it into our everyday lives.
There’s a lot of talk about mindfulness and with good reason. We all have such busy lives with a million calls on our time and this can mean we’re constantly in a state of doing. Being so switched on all the time isn’t great and it can lead to us feeling more overwhelmed, more anxious and more stressed out.
Mindfulness helps us to slow down our overthinking brains, to let go of rehashing what’s already happened or thinking about the 101 things that could or could not happen next. And to just be here, in this moment, in what’s real in our lives right now without judging it or trying to change it.
By practising mindfulness we can bring down our stress levels, soothe our frayed nerves, quieten our overthinking minds and see what there is to enjoy in our lives as they are right now. I know from my own experience the difference practising mindfulness can make so let’s take a look at how we can be mindful on a practical level.
At the heart of it mindfulness is about paying attention to what's going on right now, without judging it or trying to change it. It isn’t something that needs to be done in isolation, mindfulness can be applied to anything in our lives, anywhere, at any time.
Being mindful gives your brain a rest. It doesn't mean you have to stop what you're doing. It means giving your mind a break from thinking 427 different things while ping-ponging back and forth between the past and the future. It's as exhausting as it sounds, it stresses us out and it gets us stuck in worrying mode. Taking a micro mindful moment at any time of day lets us take a breather, come out of our worrying mind and reconnect with what's real around us.
So, here are some practical ways you can take a micro mindful moment from the start of a day through to the end:
When you wash your face in the morning pay attention to how the water feels on your hands, the temperature on your skin and the sensation as the water splashes your face.
As you’re making a hot drink listen to the sound in the kettle change as the water reaches boiling point. Notice how the water pours out of the spout and the motion of the tea bag under its pressure. Look at the steam rising from your mug, how the spoon feels in your hand as you squeeze out the tea bag.
While walking down a street, through a park or along a corridor, engage your senses. Single out each sound you can hear – a car engine, tree branches rustling, or people talking. Say to yourself silently what you can see – road signs, a flower bed, or colours of clothes. Pay attention to how your feet feel on the ground – how your weight shifts from foot to foot, how comfortable your shoes are, and the rhythm of your stride.
When you get to lunchtime give yourself a few minutes without checking your email, scrolling social media or working. Give all your focus to what you're eating, look at the colour and texture, notice its aroma, think about how it feels to bite into and chew, and how it tastes.
When you’re in conversation with someone, whether they’re a friend, a work colleague or one of the family really listen to them. Try not to think about what you’re going to say next or drift off to other thoughts. Pay full attention to what they're saying and how they're saying it.
You can set an alarm on your phone to go off a few times a day to prompt you to take a micro mindful moment. When you hear the alarm pause in whatever you're doing and bring your attention to your breath. You don’t need to breathe in any special way, just focus on where you can feel your breath go in and out of your body and follow it for ten breaths.
While you’re getting dinner ready give all your attention to what you’re doing rather than thinking about what happened earlier or what you still have to do before bed. Focus on what you're chopping, notice the weight of the knife in your hand, how it slices through the food and the sound it makes. Observe, for just a few seconds, the pan on the hob with food browning or steam rising. As you start to dish up notice the colours and textures, how they contrast to the bowl or plate.
As you get ready for bed think about how it feels to be free of the clothes you’ve been wearing all day. Notice how your body feels, any tiredness or acheyness, maybe taking a few stretches.
And when you're finally lying in bed at the end of the day, give a little attention to how it feels to be warm, to be comfortable, for the weight of your body to be supported by the mattress and for your breathing to slow down.
The key thing with mindfulness is that you’re observing, not judging, what you're giving your attention to. Once you realise that you’re thinking about how messy the room looks, that your lunch is boring, how nice your new coat looks, or how long since you changed the mattress, stop and bring your attention back to what you were focusing on – the subject of your micro mindful moment. It doesn’t matter that your mind wandered off, what matters is that you realise and come back to what you were paying attention to.
So, I hope these micro mindful suggestions have been helpful. They’ll only take a minute, so they can be slotted in throughout your day without you needing to set specific time aside. By taking a minute here and there to bring your attention to what’s real and happening right now instead of replaying what’s already happened or thinking about all the things you need to do, you give your overthinking mind a breather.
Regular practice will help you to switch from doing to being more easily and in the process give yourself the chance to spend less of your time being lost in worry and overthinking and more time enjoying your life.
Thank you for joining me for Pressing Pause, the podcast for overthinkers. You can find the show notes and other episodes at gabrielletreanor.com/podcast along with information on how to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.
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You can also find lots more to empower you to overthink and worry less and enjoy your life more, including the Nook of Inspiration free resource library and the range of online courses, at gabrielletreanor.com.
And if you’re on Instagram come say hi to me, I’m @gabrielletreanor.
Thanks again for listening, until next time, lovely people.