Posted in Exercise 1, Mindfulness activity

Core concept: ‘living in the moment’ Exercise 1…

  • Being, doing and autopilot

Living in the moment is the first key concept for mindful living.

This means that you are fully engaging with what you are doing right now; whether this is pleasant or painful, important or trivial.

When you are in the moment you will give your full attention to whatever you are doing at that time. You would be very surprised how many of us do not manage to do this!

Exercise 1

Think back to the last few days and think of activities you have done, think about work, home/social life. Include chores, challenges and interactions with others. 

Create a list. Two columns A and B. See below:

These are some examples to get you started, please cross out any that do not apply. And if there are activities that you have done please add them at the bottom.

Column A                                                                         Column B

Travelling to and fro work

Answering the phone

At your work station

Lunch break

Checking personal texts/emails

Attending a meeting

Going to the gym

Going for a run

Cooking dinner

Phoning family members


Putting children to bed

Watching TV

Spending time with partner

Going out with friends


Medical appointment

Surfing web


Once you have completed this list, we look at Column B. You are going to estimate how much you feel that you engaged on each activity, on a scale 0-10. For example, if you travel to work on a train and were busy the whole time that would be a low score, if you went out with friends and you gave your whole attention to enjoy their company, that would be a high score. Be honest this isn’t a test! For instance, if in the evening you spent time with your partner, did you give them your full attention, or were you thinking about what you needed to do next, or what was left undone at work that day? Did you have one eye on the TV while you were listening to them? We all do this!


The results of this could be interesting, you will be surprised how little we spend fully in the moment. The exceptions are when we are playing sports, or crafting, hobbies, and also when a child is screaming or yelling in pain!

If we are not engaging the rest of the time, what are we/you missing. You become disconnected with large chunks of your life. You are failing to experience times that you will never have again – living on autopilot.

The busier you become, the more likely that we are living in autopilot. Rushing through each day, completing daily chores, multitasking, each day getting faster and yet you never seem to catch up with yourself. Not enough hours in the day.

Autopilot mode can also be a good thing, for instance, a new driver would have spent their full attention on learning to drive, and once they have passed their test, autopilot enables them to focus on becoming a more experienced driver as their full attention will then be on the road, and not on learning to drive! This is unconscious competence. It’s the final stage in learning. It’s when you have fully mastered a new skill and can use it effortlessly. But even when using your unconscious competence you can still be fully engaged with the experience.

Definitely worth the read even if you don’t physically write anything down on paper, think about what you can do that will allow yourselves to appreciate things on a daily basis. This will allow you to feel more positive, and that your doing ok, doing your best!