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Just One Thing

Busy, Busy, Busy

Life can be extremely busy, and many of us start each day with a long to-do list and many different responsibilities to manage. More often than not our attention is divided between many different things at any given moment and we can often pride ourselves on our ability to multitask. How many of us check our texts whilst waiting at the checkouts; eat our lunch whilst working at our desks; sort washing or do some tidying as we watch the dinner cooking? 


​And whilst our bodies are busy carrying out all these tasks, our minds are often somewhere else completely: we might worry about a family issue as we drive to work; harbour resentful thoughts as we clean the house; anxiously recall our 'to do list' as we eat the evening meal; plan tomorrow's tasks whilst brushing our teeth at bedtime.  


We seem to go through life on automatic-pilot, our minds appearing to go round and round, jumping from one thing to another, with little or no direction from ourselves. A mind that is 'scattered' in this way can be troublesome - how often do we feel  overtired, forgetful, lacking in concentration, dissatisfied, uneasy or even overwhelmed?  

A wandering mind is an unhappy mind 

A Harvard study found that people spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing. It seems that this kind of 'mindlessness' is the default setting for many of us, with the mind spending much of its time focused on the past, the future, or wading through self-critical 'should haves' and 'what ifs'. The study found that allowing the brain to run on auto-pilot like this can make people unhappy. The researchers concluded that “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.” 

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention,

on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally” 

Jon Kabat-Zinn 


Mindfulness is a gentle way of training our attention so that we begin to notice when automatic pilot is taking over. By taking a pause, and intentionally choosing where to place our attention, we can step out of automatic-pilot and get a sense of what is really happening – both internally and externally. From these moments of awareness and clarity we create space: space from which we can respond skilfully to challenges and difficulties, rather than reacting in habitual ways. 

Mindfulness also enables us to notice the simple pleasures life has to offer, and the opportunities we have to

nurture happiness and joy.  

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