Don't stress! Switch off and practice mindfulness for a calmer life

It’s the hot topic on everyone’s lips but we’re still a little baffled. Gareth Stubbs, Co-Founder of Spanish mindfulness health retreat, D-Toxd, fills us in on the stress-busting topic of the moment…

Mindfulness: ‘The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something’

So, WTF does that mean?

Gareth explains: ‘In today’s busy life, it’s easy to forget about the simple things. Before we know it, we’re feeling burnt out, stressed and stretched to our limits.

He adds: ‘People confuse mindfulness with switching off and quietening the mind however it’s NOT about switching off in the slightest. It’s about being at peace and quiet with the noise going on around you. It’s about turning down the volume and tuning into YOU.’

Gareth recommends incorporating five minutes of mindfulness into your daily routine. Try these simple tips…

…and breathe

Take a few moments out of your day to focus on your breathing. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and breathe in through your nose for the count of four, hold for the count of three and exhale through your mouth for the count of six. Do this four or five times, three times a day.

De-clutter your mind

Spend five minutes, three times a day, focusing on your thoughts. Put a pen and paper next to you, close your eyes and just be aware of everything that comes up. As it does, write it down and then return to your eyes-closed position. Once you have completed your five minutes, go through your list and see what requires attention and what can be ‘filed’.

MORE: 9 ways to go from stressed to serene!

Food for thought

Eat one meal in complete silence every week. Turn off the TV, set a place at the table, light a candle and just sit and eat your meal alone. Put down your knife and fork between each mouthful, focusing on the flavours, textures and tastes of your food. Eating mindfully improves our digestion and leads to eating smaller portions; as you’re eating slower and savouring your meal, you become more mindful of when your body is satisfied.

And if you want to discover more about why slowing down and staying present leads to a happier, less stressed life, get the Time special edition on Mindfulness – on sale now in Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, WHSmith.

For more information on D-Toxd, head to