Take Notice… Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are on a train, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
Click here for some more ways for you to Take Notice which includes our beginners guide to Mindfulness with free MP3 downloads to support your learning.
Find out about the other Six Ways to Wellbeing:
“At any time I may stop. I just stop and absorb my environment.” Elena is a Health Trainer in Herne Bay. She knows that she is better able to support others if she feels well within herself:
“I realised I wasn’t taking time out for myself. So I was very mindful of that. I’d forgotten how to look after myself, so I taught myself.”
Elena now makes a conscious effort to be mindful at different times of the day: “I take notice of my environment. So I take time to stop, listen, look around and appreciate what’s going on around me. At any time I may stop. If I am in a queue or anything else, I just stop and absorb my environment. I’m really specific about that time out for myself.”
Elena and her family have also created a sensory garden with a pond.
“Lots of leaves and plants that blow different sounds in the wind. I’ve got chickens so I listened to the chickens. They’ve just had chicks, so I am listening to them. And a wildlife pond, so listening to the rain in the pond. We’ve watched it evolved from just a hole to water to new insects to fish growing.”
“We’ve dug a hole in the ground. Mosquitoes started laying eggs which none of us liked. A friend gave us some plants from her pond which had fish eggs on and the fish ate the mosquito larvae. Then we had pond skaters, which just appeared. It’s just completely evolved and it has been really natural. The children keep going and exploring. And we’re watching everything grow. It’s just nice. It has surprised me just how much I like it.”
“It is really relaxing, focusing, watching the fish and seeing how much they have grown. It is longer than just a couple of minutes; it’s about really absorbing it.”
And here’s a snap of the latest arrival to Elena’s pond:
Kent’s Health Trainers offer free, confidential one-to-one support, to help people to make positive lifestyle changes. They work closely with you to work out what changes you want to make, map out a plan and offer the support and encouragement needed to achieve your goals. Find out more about Kent’s Health Trainers by following the link.
“As a volunteer, I’ve gone to places locally which I’ve driven past and never noticed before.”
Donald is a volunteer for the Kent High Weald Partnership and it’s helped him to appreciate where he lives:
“I think it has broadened my horizons quite a lot. Obviously, at my age I have been around quite a bit. But quite often you go to places in the middle of nowhere and they are only 5 miles outside town and you’ve never even heard of them. You knew nothing about them!”
“I’ve done a lot of outdoor work. I’ve worked on farms in the past and obviously you know there are hedges to keep the cows in and for the birds to nest in. For instance, the first job I ever did was hedge-laying in Dunorlan Park. But if you visited the park, you never think, “Oh, that hedge looks quite neat! How has that happened?” Because you don’t notice it. Because you walk past it every day. But when you’re the person laying it you can see how it’s changed. Then you become more aware of your immediate surroundings.”
Being a volunteer also means Donald ‘keeps learning’; he’s become an ‘accidental’ local historian and naturalist: Six Ways to Wellbeing Keep Learning page.
Kathy lives in Dartford and regularly walks through the town’s industrial estate and along the River Darent. She enjoys it, whatever the weather:
Do you have a favourite walk? Show us on our Facebook page, where we’re enjoying the spring weather and going ‘Wild About Wellbeing’! And to inspire you, here’s a photo from one of Kathy’s walks:
Genny lives in Gravesend. She has two teenage boys, runs her own accountancy business and three community projects. The first is a ‘Single Parents Support Group’, and the second is ‘Confident Children’, organising affordable childcare activities during the school holidays. The third is ‘Happiness Project Kent’, which gives people the chance to learn relaxation techniques and look after their emotional wellbeing.
Because life is so busy, Genny has learned to “take notice” every day:
“I am aware that I give a lot but that I’ve got to take care of my own wellbeing. So I have a daily routine where, in the first half hour of the day, I do my meditation and calm myself.”
“It just helps me to tune my mind and realise that I have got to listen to all the different parts of my body. So I think meditating is a way of slowing down and focussing on the good things that I have in my life.”
“Then I go to work and I really mix looking after myself, looking after the kids, the projects that I run and the business as well. I’ve just learned how to say “no”, so I don’t overwhelm myself or overstretch myself.”
“Seriously, it has taken me a good seven years to learn this! Because I’m a Yes Person! Yes, oh yes, Genny will volunteer! Yes, Genny will do that!”
“But then I thought that at the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself first, then my kids, then everything else will come after.”
Genny is a volunteer at CVS NW Kent, the Council for Voluntary Service, North West Kent www.cvsnwk.org. The council’s helped her with all her projects: “The CVS is like a family to me now. If I need anything, I can ask them and they are always there to help.”
Margaret, in Dartford: ‘I am somebody who looks at the changing seasons. And it’s wonderful to look out of my sitting room window and see a gorgeous sunset. And isn’t it lovely to look out of my back door and see the first snowdrop coming up? That gives you great joy, doesn’t it?’
Kathy, from Dartford: ‘I like watching the trees changing colour. Recently I went down one road, just a few doors down from where I live, and they’ve chopped down some trees that are diseased. And to watch them going from being trimmed back, to cut down and now all the stumps have been chipped. And all these trees have come down. Then you look at the road, and you think, ‘Oh, my goodness, that is so bright now!’ And you get a totally different view, because the trees are not there.’
Carl works for Rural Kent and Big Local, including Newington Big Local, one of our ‘Wellbeing Trailblazer’ groups: Carl wants to keep in regular contact with friends, but sometimes other things get in the way click here to listen to Carl.
Kathy, a volunteer at The Healthy Living Centre, Dartford.
“We’ve got a little Tesco’s at the bottom where we live. So I go one way, but I always come back another way. And if I walk that way going, I come back the other way. So I never go the same way twice. That is my little rule.”
Here are some more ways of taking notice:
- Take a camera when you go out and take pictures as the seasons change
- Practice slow breathing four times a day
- Enjoy the small things
- Take notice of your own thoughts and feelings
- Take action to deal with negative thoughts before they have time to grow
- Download free relaxation, stress management positive thinking podcasts
- Savour the taste for my meals. (Eat sitting down)
- Think about your day when you brush my teeth at night and recognise what you did well
- Stop to appreciate something beautiful in your surroundings
- Compliment a colleague or classmates new clothes or haircut
- Asked yourself how I’m feeling at 3 points during the day
- Notice 5 unusual things on a journey you make often/change the journey by walking on the other side of the road
- Borrow a library book about mindfulness or meditation techniques
- Spend 1 minute, every hour, focusing on your breathing
- Take a 5 minute break at work/home and clear your head
For other suggestions as to how you can take notice click here.
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