Can We Learn Mindfulness from Babies?

Posted on Posted in Latest, Living Intelligently, Performance

The Benefits Of Slowing Down

A few days ago I went to the doctors with my friend and her baby for the 4 month inoculations.

Her daughter had to have three injections and my friend was not looking forward to it; having seen her baby’s reaction after the last round.

The pain, the crying, the feeling of guilt my friend had even though she was doing the best thing for her baby.

My job was merely moral support and helping to distract her daughter whilst being injected.

As expected the first injection caused the pain and tears: I went into overdrive pulling faces and rattling toys, trying to distract her. Two more injections were given and the tears and crying continued.

However, within a few minutes the tears dried up, the crying stopped, and miraculously everything seemed to return to normal. Peace was restored and we left the surgery with her daughter apparently oblivious once more to what had just occurred.

Babies live in the moment.

Their whole focus is on how they feel and what is going on in that moment of time.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if, as adults, we too could live in the present?

We spend so much time analysing past events, or fretting over what may or may not happen in the future, that we give little attention to what is going on right now.

It’s hardly surprising though. Technology provides us with 24/7 access to people around the globe whether that’s for work or social purposes. You may be based in London and it’s 9am, but have a conference call with someone in Hong Kong eight time zones away; so even in the present it can feel like you are working in the future!

As adults it’s natural for us to dwell on past experiences or what we perceive to have been mistakes. Subsequently we spend a lot of time analysing what happened and how we can prevent it occurring in the future, again skipping out that vital ‘living in the moment’ stage.

Even in our down time we are planning meet-ups or holidays or events: How many times have you or a friend said “I can’t wait…..”

As difficult as it is, letting go of past hang ups or future preconceptions is the best thing we can do for both our emotional and physical health.

In other words quite simply, we need to


Take five minutes over your breakfast or your lunch, to take pleasure in what you are eating instead of looking at your phone or laptop screen.

Get off the tube a stop early, and enjoy those last few minutes before arriving at work.

Look up at the buildings and admire the architecture, watch the trees change with the season, and just breathe.

It may only be for a few precious moments each day, but it will ground you, and according to studies from the University of Exeter, it will enhance your productivity at work.

So maybe we should be paying more attention to the babies in our lives: Spend more time living in the present, and whether it is good or bad accept it.

Know that if it is painful the moment will pass. If it is enjoyable, appreciate it for what it is. As the old adage says “life is what happens when we are busy making other plans” it would be a shame to miss out.