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Mindfulness? Learn it from your children

Mindfulness means paying attention completely to the present moment. It means being fully absorbed in what’s going on right now–without judging or criticising. Just being here, right now, fully awake and aware–that’s mindfulness.

And that’s children. The younger the child, the more often he or she is mindful. Children become completely absorbed by whatever they’re doing, so much so that sometimes it’s hard to get their attention! But that intense and complete focus is lovely to watch.

If you want to know how to be mindful, rather than following complicated instructions, ploughing through manuals, or taking courses, I suggest that you observe a young child who is enjoying play time. You, too, once spent time in that way, fully engaged and fulfilled. You can do it again.

A good way to start is to begin each day in mindful awareness. This will balance your body chemistry and set you up for a more focused, calmer day.

Set your alarm for three minutes earlier than you would normally wake. Sit up in bed, choose an object in your bedroom, and begin breathing slowly and steadily, in through your nose and out through your mouth. For 30 slow breaths, describe that object to yourself in the smallest detail. Then get up and start your normal daily routine–and notice how you feel. Your thinking will be clearer, and you’ll feel calm and balanced.