Mindfulness not your bag? Try paying attention.

In November 2015 Brené Brown (yes, that Brené Brown) gave a talk in London* on courage. It was one of those nights when the feeling in the audience was palpable. An auditorium full of people sitting thinking ‘how do you know that about me?’

That’s the thing with Brené. Her research is interesting. Her storytelling ability is incredible. Refreshing. Human.

Oh, and she doesn’t do waffle.

She had the most refreshing take on mindfulness I’ve come across. She gave a plain english way to describe it. It was something she remembered being told to do a child  and it may ring familiar bells in your mind:



Mindfulness is paying attention. To whatever it is you’re doing. Easy… well, easy to understand. Maybe common sense but not common practice.

Think you have mindfulness down pat and want to step it up a bit? Then how about breathing. Not the shallow ‘breath in and out and have a sip of coffee in between’ type breathe we all tend towards. Nope. Box step breathing. The way they teach marines to breathe to reduce anxiety and increase their ability to perform in high pressure situations.

Breathe in for four. Hold for four.

Breathe out for four. Hold for four.


Two cycles of box step breathing will change your nervous system. If you’re skeptical then try it before you diss it. Better yet try it in a room full of people and ask them to do it with you.

Those are my two nuggets from an evening with Brené Brown. What do you think? Do you pay attention? Does the box step breath make a difference to you?

Box breath

*thanks again to The School of Life for keeping up with the incredible deluge of academic authors branching out in to popular science writing.

6 thoughts on “Mindfulness not your bag? Try paying attention.

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