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3 Simple Words to Help You Feel Present, Grounded, and Nourished

3 Simple Words to Help You Feel Present, Grounded, and Nourished
Mindfulness is where magic happens!

“The little things? They’re not little.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

Do you remember 19th January 2019? No? I wouldn’t, either, except that it happens to be the day my mindfulness journey—and my life—changed forever.

First, some background. I started my career by going to University, getting a job in accounts and working my way up the corporate ladder (like society told me to do!). However, life threw some curveballs my way, and to cut a long story short. I ended up doing something radically different.

Through all the stresses of life, the ups and downs, I felt like a failed meditator. To be honest, I was a bit embarrassed that I couldn’t make a simple practice stick. It’s supposed to be easy, right? You just find a quiet spot, close your eyes, and stay still for 10 minutes!

So why couldn’t I do this one simple thing?


Yep, that pesky stress word again. 

Picture this: you're trying to zen out, sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, ready to dive into the tranquil sea of meditation. But wait, what's that? Oh, it's Stress, the pesky little gremlin wreaking havoc on your chill vibes.

Stress is like that clingy friend who just won't let you have a moment of peace. It's constantly tapping you on the shoulder, whispering, "Hey, remember that deadline? And oh, don't forget about that awkward conversation from last week!" Ugh, thanks, Stress, but I'm trying to find my inner calm here!

Now, why does Stress insist on crashing our meditation party? Well, it's because Stress has a knack for making everything feel urgent and overwhelming. It's like a hyperactive squirrel bouncing around in your brain, scattering your thoughts like acorns on a windy day.

When you're stressed, your mind becomes a tangled mess of worries and to-do lists. And let's be real, trying to meditate when your mind is more chaotic than a toddler's birthday party is like trying to find inner peace in a tornado.

Now, back to the story. In 2019, January 19th landed on a Sunday. I was training for the Stafford half marathon, and it was a run day.

But for some reason, I was struggling with the longer runs. They were slow and tedious, and I was very much clock-watching. However, I had been reading more and more about mindfulness and had signed up for a 21-day meditation challenge with the amazing Gabby Berstein. The challenge included some mindful meditations, which made me think there was another way to do this.

As I set off for my run that morning, I decided to try an experiment: I would slow down and tune in to, well, anything and everything.

I’d notice what was happening around me, what was happening inside my head, and what happened when I intentionally paid attention.

Oh, the things I noticed! Little pink flowers poking out through a crack in the pavement. A tiny dog in a pale blue sequined jacket. A sweet older couple holding hands as they shuffled across the street together, which instantly warmed my heart.

Two hours later, I realised that intentional noticing was making me feel present, grounded, nourished, and aware. I was totally engaged with my run, and I enjoyed it so much more.

A Three-Word Invitation to Slow Down and Be Present

I decided that each time I felt stressed or thought something was too hard, “I’d take notice.” Even if it was just to notice my breathing or count my steps, nothing was too small or mundane to be worth noticing.

Now, five years later, I’m still observing some of the funny, surprising, sweet, and ordinary moments that we all see but rarely take the time to notice. This daily practice leaves me feeling tuned in, present, and connected—just like any other mindfulness practice.

Unlike meditation, this approach to mindfulness has stuck with me. Noticing has become a way of life, and I don’t plan on ever stopping.

Here are five reasons why Willow Older and Deborah Huber,  authors of Today I Noticed: A Little Book of Mindfulness that Will Change the Way You See the World, are convinced that “Today I Noticed” is the secret to lasting mindfulness.

1. It’s 100% natural.

We’re all noticing things, all the time. The key is noticing yourself noticing. Paying attention doesn’t require a meditation pillow, a yoga mat, or a mantra. It just takes a simple prompt—”Today I noticed”—to shift your mindset.

2. It makes us feel present.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn so wisely stated in the quote above, the little moments aren’t little because they’re what make up our lives. When we move too fast or feel too overwhelmed to notice them, we miss out on an essential part of daily life. Intentional noticing is a way to feel instantly grounded in the here and now.

3. It sparks gratitude.

When we slow down and pay attention, even for an instant, we stop taking things for granted. “Today I Noticed” reminds us how easy it is to find things to appreciate if we just slow down and look for them.

4. It boosts compassion.

As I discovered during my very first observation session, the little moments are evidence of our shared humanity. Whether we see a new bud blossom into a beautiful flower, hear a beloved dog snoring, or appreciate a smile from a stranger, such “ordinary” experiences feel downright extraordinary when we realise they’re part of a bigger collective experience.

5. It’s a creative outlet.

If you’d like to have a creative practice but can’t find the time, “Today I Noticed” mindfulness is for you. You can spend as much or as little time as you’d like writing and drawing about an observation. This bite-sized break is an easy way to tap into a delicious right-brain experience and feel both completely focused and completely relaxed. And wonderfully creative!

Go Forth and Notice!

Have I convinced you to try noticing your way to mindfulness?

When you simply let three words, “Today I noticed,” inspire you to pay attention to the little things that usually slip away unnoticed, you feel present, grounded, and nourished. Small things become more interesting and memorable when we simply take the time to notice them.

(And no, you don’t have to take up running to do this either - you can try this when you’re out walking, washing up, waiting for the kids, or taking a shower!)

I’ll end with what may be the most powerful discovery of all: The more you notice, the more you notice. And that, friends, is where the real mindfulness magic happens.

"Mindfulness is the art of savouring the simple joys sprinkled throughout our days, transforming the mundane into moments of magic."

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