mindful practice.

By Charlie Murray

Our brains are beautiful things, but they love to test us. They love to spend their time running through past events or worrying about what’s coming up in the future. A little bit of this can be really useful. It helps us to learn from our mistakes and keeps us organised and prepared, however when it’s happening on repeat, it’s a sign that you need to pause.

Pausing is one of the best ways to find your slow. It’s about catching your brain hanging out in the future or past states and pulling it back to the present moment. Learn to do this and you’re learning to control your own stress levels. Pretty cool hey? The great news is that it’s not actually all that hard to do.

One of our favourite ways to pause is a little activity that involves using the environment around you to help regain that sense of presence. Rosie and I did it the other day whilst out looking for fairies in Kangaroo Valley, but you can just as easily practise this laying in your bed while the morning sun streams in through your window, sitting at your desk, or out in a park at lunchtime.

Here’s something to try:

  • Find a comfortable space, laying or sitting
  • Slowly, think of five things that you can see and notice at least one detail about each
  • Next close your eyes and think of three things you can hear, take your time to notice how the sounds might change over time
  • Finally, think of one thing you can smell

Congrats, you just drew your brain back to the present state and are probably feeling a little less stressed as a result. Similar to training a muscle, neural networks in our brain get stronger the more they’re used, so pausing gets easier the more you practice it.

Over to you.