Article by Paula Quinsee

Paula Quinsee is a Relationship Expert speaker and author of the self-help guide Embracing Conflict. Paula works with individuals and organisations to cultivate healthy relationships in both personal and professional arenas by focusing on personal growth and development. Go to for more info.

They say 90% of the time we function on autopilot. In other words, we are not consciously thinking about what we are doing or why we are doing those things.

They have become habitual.

Think about when you brush your teeth or your morning routine each day when you wake up.

The route you drive to or from home and work each day.

Have there been times when you can’t remember how you got to a place or walked into a room and forgot what you were going to do?

This is because we are not consciously thinking about our actions and thoughts – we are on autopilot. This happens daily with tasks we perform, the way we interact with others, our reactions, our behaviors, things we hold onto from the past and even some of our beliefs.

It has become so ingrained in us over the years that we have not stopped to consider whether those things are still relevant, serve us positively or whether there is possibly something new or different we could consider instead. We lose out on so much as we are unaware of what is going on around us. We miss the signs and messages – both verbal and non-verbal.

A wounded glance, reactive tone of voice, hurt eyes, dejected or closed off body language. We even miss the beauty in everything due to our presence being elsewhere instead of enjoying the moment for what it is – the here and now.

Living mindfully present is important to the quality of the lives we live. Being mindful of our own thoughts, actions and behaviors and the impact they have on others around us. Being fully present in the moment and giving others our undivided attention and efforts is a gift.

how to be mindful


So how do we be mindful everyday?

To be mindful is a daily practice that takes time to master and should be viewed as learning a new skill, just the same as learning to read or write.

It starts with becoming aware of how we talk to ourselves, the words we use, the language we speak. Often we are our own worst critic and berate ourselves harshly. The more we tell ourselves stories, the stronger they become until they take on a life of their own and become the path we live by.

When our self awareness grows, we become aware of our own thoughts and behaviors as well as the impact we are having on others and they are having on us.

We can sense when we are not being authentic and sincere just as much as we can sense when others are not.

We know when we are being true to ourselves and living our truth vs. compromising our own values and personal boundaries and the consequences that come with this.

Some like to meditate, others like to go to the bush or the sea whilst some like to partake in an activity – each with the purpose of connecting us to ourselves and feeding our soul.

It does not matter what you do so long as you do it. With this heightened sense of awareness, we are able to be more creative, positive, solution oriented, peace loving and kind for the benefit of all and mankind.

The intention we set for ourselves is the intention by which we live and treat others. Make yours a positive and uplifting one.


A Reflection Exercise

Can you think of words or phrases you often use when speaking to or about yourself?

Are they positive and uplifting or critical and faultfinding?

Can you remember a situation where you may not have been fully present and aware of your actions?

If you think back to that time now, can you see the different ways your actions may have been interpreted by others?

Would your actions have a positive or negative impact on others?

Is there one thing you can start doing differently today to raise your levels of self awareness?

Look for the good and positive in everyone and every situation because it is there if you dare to try.

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