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Take time for a mindful moment

Action For Happiness provides so many sources of inspiration and information when it comes to living a life that is rich, full and connected.

Their 10 Keys for happier living include the practice of mindfulness to reduce stress levels, help us manage our emotions and reactions, tune in better to how we and others are feeling and cultivate compassion for ourselves and others.

Individually, we vary in our natural levels of mindfulness, but everyone can learn to be more mindful and there are lots of ways we can incorporate it into our daily lives.

Enjoy some top tips to incorporate a mindful moment into your day...

As you enter your house or flat, be aware of your sensations and feelings as you enter. How does the floor feel beneath your feet? What noises can you hear? What smells do you notice? What colours?

As you step outside look up at the sky and see the sky and the clouds or the stars, notice the feeling of the air on your body or the warmth of the sun or sensation of the wind.

Look up at some trees and notice how they are, their different shapes and colours. Look at the texture of their bark, branches and leaves. Notice how these move and the sound of the leaves. Can you see sunlight through the foliage or drops of rain in the leaves? What insects are buzzing nearby? What else can you notice?

When you are going somewhere in the car, on foot or on your bike, notice how you are moving. Are you rushing to reach your destination? Which muscles in your body are active or relaxed? What thoughts run through your mind? How does your breathing feel - fast, slow, deep or shallow? How does this change if you slow down or get faster?

When you are doing something pleasurable such as taking a warm shower or bath, petting your 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 you eat a piece of fruit or chocolate – try doing so mindfully. Before you put it in your mouth notice its colour, shape, texture and smell. How does it feel in your hands? Take a small bite - but don't chew! Notice how it feels in your mouth. What is the texture now? 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.

Mindful walking - in a park, in a quiet street or even around your room! Set your alarm for 5 minutes....

  • 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 in your shoes, 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 shoes make with each step.

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