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Mindfulness Tips - Katie Elliott, Founder of Little Challenges



Katie Elliott is the founder of Little Challenges, an online platform that provides ideas, inspiration, and practical tools, that can make the messy business of being human just a little bit easier.


What does Mindfulness mean to you?


For me, mindfulness is about being completely present in whatever you are doing. Some people feel comfortable sitting quietly and practising mindfulness using apps such as Headspace or Calm, however this isn’t a good fit for everybody. You can do anything mindfully - washing up, taking a walk, brushing your child’s hair, drinking a cup of tea - it’s a question of allowing yourself to fully immerse yourself in whatever you’re doing in that moment. Thoughts will come and go, but each time you bring yourself gently back to the present, you’re practising mindfulness.


How else can we practice being mindful?


A mindfulness teacher once gave me some great advice. When you encounter something that feels like an annoyance - for example, waiting at a red light or in a queue at the supermarket - you can use the uncomfortable feelings that come up into a prompt for practising mindfulness. Instead of getting cross or looking for ways to distract yourself, you can learn to check in with yourself. How does your body feel right now? How is your breathing? What can you see, feel, hear, smell, taste in this moment?


People often think practising mindfulness is going to take up a lot of time and become yet another thing on the to-do list, but you can do it in a moment. When you notice you are caught up in your thoughts, anxious about the future or dwelling on the past, you can choose to pause and be exactly where you are. It may seem like a tiny thing to do, but it’s surprising how much of a difference it can make.


How do you deal with the anxiety around the current climate?


When I notice myself becoming anxious, I find it helps to ask myself a simple question: what is within my control in this situation - and what isn’t? Often when we feel anxious, we are worrying about things we don’t have any control over. Unfortunately, the more energy we put into thinking about these things, the more out of control we tend to feel.


We might not know what’s going to happen next week, but there are generally all sorts of positive things we could do in this moment - for example, go outside, take a walk, have a chat with a friend, take a deep breath. 


However, sometimes when we’re really anxious it can be hard to think of what to do next - that’s why I decided to create a simple reminder tool to help. Amiko Cards feature 52 simple, evidence-based ideas that can help boost physical and mental wellbeing. They’re a friendly reminder of the helpful things we know but can often forget. To use the cards, look at the deck and ask, what would help right now? When you find an idea that feels good, do it – in whatever way works for you. Discover Amiko Cards here.


Visit the Little Challenges website here.