By Ed Halliwell

Our culture is so focused on speed that many of us rush through the day on autopilot. Mindfulness, based on Buddhist meditation techniques, is something you can bring into everyday life to experience it more fully.

The next time you find yourself sitting at your desk, or at home or in a cafe, let go of your thinking mind and try to notice what is going on around you. Take time to appreciate the workmanship that went into making the glass you’re drinking from, or how beautiful the tree in your garden is when it moves in the wind.

Rather than being carried away by your thoughts, acknowledge them and let them pass — as you might watch trains going by while you remain on the platform. Connect with your breathing and pay attention to how your body feels. Are you tired? Rushed? Feeling good?

As well as creating a sense of appreciation, coming back into your body in this way means you will be better placed to make a choice about what you really want to do with your day. In a society where the goal is more highly valued than the journey, a mindful approach can lead to a more balanced life. There is evidence that mindfulness is beneficial to our health: it can ease depression and anxiety as well as physical illness. And all it takes is to step into our lives in a more attentive way.

• Ed Halliwell is co-author of The Mindful Manifesto, to be published on September 6 (Hay House £10.99)

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