One-Thing-at-a-Time – Frank Liddy

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Let’s do One thing at a time

Hi all, welcome to this weeks Inspire Mindfulness corner
As we enter into the holiday mode, I thought it would be a good idea for us to slow down and a good start would be to engage with one thing at a time.

The Inspire One-Thing-at-a-Time Mindfulness Practice

We have found that the best way to make this shift is through the “One-Thing-at-a-Time Inspire Mindfulness practice”.
The practice is simple: pay attention to the thing you’re doing while you’re doing it.
To help you build this practice into a habit, we recommend using a simple strategy called, Notice – Shift – Rewire, that we have developed in our work with busy professionals here at Inspire

The key is to first Notice when you’re caught in the state of busyness.

The next step is to Shift gears and bring your attention back to the present moment by focusing on the task at hand.

The final step is to Rewire, savouring the experience of being fully engaged in what you’re doing. Like formal Mindfulness practice, the only way to experience the full benefits of this practice is by building it into a regular habit. So here are some tips:

1. Create a cue — having a cue, or trigger, is essential in building new habits. To build some momentum early in the day, our recommendation is to use brushing your teeth as your cue. When you pick up your toothbrush each day, Notice your surroundings. Then Shift by bringing your full attention to the sights, sounds, and sensations of brushing your teeth. Finally, Rewire by savoring this experience for just 15 to 30 seconds.

2. Use labels to ground yourself in the task at hand — Once you’ve initiated the habit using brushing your teeth or some other habitual experience, it can be helpful to use mental labeling to keep your mind grounded in the moment. When you reach for the towel, you might think “towel.” When you go to the sink, “hand washing.” This can be a helpful way of interrupting mind wandering and staying grounded in the task at hand.

3. Carve out “stimulus-free” moments — Listening to podcasts, news, audiobooks, and other piecemeal bits of multimedia can distract us from the task at hand. If you notice that your day is full of stimulation — that you rarely, if ever, give yourself space to breathe and just “be” — it can be helpful to carve out moments to unplug from your devices and savor some silence.

4. Slow down — Speed and busyness go hand-in-hand. When possible, see if you can Notice your pace accelerating. Then Shift by slightly adjusting your pace — no need to turn everything on a dime. Instead of rushing as you walk to the bathroom during a work break, let yourself enjoy the stroll.

If you’re successful in creating a new habit out of this one-thing-at-a-time meditation practice, you should begin to notice a shift in your experience of busyness. Your day may still include the same long list of to-dos. But your mind may experience more space and leisure. And that might lead you to say something shocking in your next conversation — something like, “I actually don’t feel all that busy right NOW


Frank Liddy

Frank Liddy, Lead Mindfulness Practitioner for Inspire Professional Services | B.A, A.Dip.

About Frank Liddy

Frank has worked in the community care voluntary mental health sector for over twenty-five years and currently delivers Mindfulness Programmes for Inspire.

He is the founding Director of the Belfast Mindfulness Centre, co-founder of Compassion City Belfast and Northern Ireland’s representative for The Mindfulness Initiative.

Frank studied mindfulness at the University of Wales and is a qualified integrative humanistic Counsellor and holds certificate of registration for NI social care Council.

As well as teaching mindfulness compassion through the life-long learning programme at Queen’s University Belfast, he has also successfully delivered experiential and practice-based training programmes to mental health and allied professionals working in psychiatry, nursing, social work and the criminal justice system.