Remember that saying, "Wake up and smell the roses"?

There's more to that than just an idiomatic expression. In today's busy world, many of us get so lost with the demands of our day-to-day tasks, juggling work, home, finances and many other issues, that we easily lose awareness of the actual present.
How often have you driven to work and not remembered anything about your journey? Or clocked in at 9am only to realise later that the hours have passed and it's time to head home? How many times have you been out with family, friends or a loved one but been too busy looking through your phone to see if you have missed any important emails or calls?

Too often, we mindlessly drift through the day, turning on autopilot and let daily distractions seep through the moment.

Sometimes we are never fully "in the present", rushing through our day, wasting so much time reliving the past, or worrying about the future.

The concept of being mindful or being more conscious of life "as it happens", may seem impossible in today's hectic world, but once you develop the habit, it will help you enjoy life more and ensure you become more productive in the process. It is impossible to fully appreciate life if you always live it in haste!

Developing mindfulness

To appreciate the present, you need to become more aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions; leaving behind self-criticism and focusing instead on what's positive ‘in the here and now’.

By becoming mindful, you are paying greater attention to what is happening in your life. This level of self-awareness can have an incredibly positive impact on your life, allowing you to look at things and situations far more clearly and making it easier for you to make wiser choices.

Mindfulness exercises have been developed and used by therapists for people with issues like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, panic attacks and sleep disorders. The programmes include specific meditation practices aimed at helping your mind to ‘de-clutter’.

You can live life to the full today by being mindful. Here are five ways to practice this awareness each and every day;

Start your day by simply sitting down right after you wake up in the morning. This is your way of telling your body you are awakening to the day and preparing for the challenges ahead.

Try doing one thing at a time. If you're eating, appreciate the food on your plate and savour every bite, enjoy the flavours. (You'll also eat less this way and digest your food better!)

Avoid rushing through any task. There’s little joy in approaching everything at 100 miles an hour. Focus on what you are doing and inevitably you’ll come up with better, more rewarding results.

Prioritise what is most important to you and spend more time on it. Start your day with at least one task that will positively inspire you.

Spend at least five minutes just sitting in silent contemplation. Be aware of your deeper thoughts. Focus on your breathing and notice the world slowing around you.

Be in the present and enjoy life to the fullest!