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Mindful : October 2018
just something that is off limits to others. And that can make us very lonely sometimes. No one gets me. No one feels what I feel. No one is in here with me. We all know how scary that can be, and when lone- some gives way to deeply lonely, and when that gives way to cut off and disen- gaged, we have real prob- lems, which is why in the UK they recently created a minister for loneliness: to address the problem of people, often elderly people, becoming cut off and disengaged. We need community and compan- ionship to live. And yet, in the right doses, being by ourselves can be deeply restorative. It can help us discover a deep reservoir of contentment that does not need to be chased after. We can find a vast inner space where we are free from the need to talk, where poetry and crea- tivity and compassion come from. It’s a place where the emotion of awe resides. That kind of space—a space of awe and wonder and simplicity—is well worth savoring. It may be the most savory treat of all. ● When you drink, drink more slowly A lot of beverages cross our lips during the day. Perhaps when we first take a sip, we notice how refreshing it is, but before long we’re drinking on autopilot and our mind is elsewhere entirely. No need for a big radical shift; just tweak your attention slightly so you still experience heat or coolness, thickness or thinness, and the taste of the drink. You can still pay attention to what else is going on—even something weighing on your mind—but the very act of placing a little more attention on the liquid passing through your mouth can ground you and exhila- rate you. When you open a door, feel the handle It’s easy to barge into a room without taking much notice of the shifting landscape. Touching and grasping a doorknob can become a small stimulus that can signal us to slow down as we transition from one place to another. It can also help when we enter a room or step out ofacartotakeamomentto have both feet on the ground and take a breath. The same goes for elevators. Stand to the side and let others out first. These little pauses may seem silly and contrived, but in reality, using the transi- tions of everyday life to return to the present is a key to savoring life. When you get up in the morning, look out the window Our speedy mind can jump into gear just as soon as we wake up. We’re off to the races, figuring out and fretting about the day ahead. As we go through our morning ablutions, we may do so mindlessly—barely there as we plot and scheme about how to conquer the day. Thinking prospectively is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s helpful. Taking a moment or two, though, to gaze into the distance, and maybe admire atreeorabirdoracloudin the sky, may add a dash of perspective and help us build more slowly to the day ahead. One Thing at a Time What often keeps us from savoring is speedy thinking. We’ve barely started drinking our tea or coffee before we’re on to the next thing. Here are three simple ways to interrupt that habit and slow down. LIFE HACK October 2018 mindful 57