Cardiff Half Marathon

As part of the 2022 #ChooseYou campaign, Cardiff University are exploring self-care and the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ – all relevant to running and the journey to the Cardiff Half start line.

Take a look at the content below, or go back to our summary page to explore other topics.

Take Notice

Take Notice is about rooting oneself in the present, making it less likely that you dwell upon the unchangeable past and unknowable future.

It is about intentionally paying attention to the world around you and what you’re feeling. It’s about engaging more with your behaviours, being curious and playful with your experiences and taking some time to reflect on them.

Especially when we feel busy or stressed, it is easy to feel distracted and not pay attention. We can become ‘mindless’, going about our day without noticing our experiences, feeling somewhat disassociated and disconnected from them. This isn’t good for us.

Take Notice is about having an awareness of sensations, thoughts, and feelings, a process known to enhance wellbeing. This ‘mindful’ approach leads to more positive mental states, self-regulated behaviours, and heightened self-knowledge. It can reduce worry, anxiety and depression. This awareness can also help you to act in accordance with your needs, values, and interests.

Keep in mind that Take Notice is a skill you can practice and develop. If it’s a way of being that is unfamiliar to you, be patient. Whenever you can, try to remind yourself to ‘take notice’. Pause and notice any sensations or thoughts or feelings that are present. What can you notice now, even as you read this? What thoughts are with you? How would you describe them? You can also recruit some or all your five basic senses: touch; sight, hearing; smell; and taste. Be curious. Pay attention and see what comes up. And look to be accepting of whatever it is you notice. Try to avoid labelling or passing judgement on what you’re experiencing; even if there is an uncomfortable thought or emotion present, noticing and then accepting it is going to be helpful.

Taking notice is also about finding the meaning in everything we do. Truly meaningful actions are likely to be more enjoyable and even more effective.

So what does Taking Notice look like in practice? If you’re doing an activity, for example walking, you can start by noticing how your body feels. Are there any sensations? Any aches or pains? Are you feeling energetic? If you’re active outdoors, what can you hear? Smell? See? If you are going for a run, you might spend a few moments noticing how you’re feeling as you get ready. How does your clothing feel? How does your body feel when you start moving? Are you feeling tired? How are your legs today? Light? Heavy? Is there any soreness? And what’s the weather like? How does the rain feel? The sun? Can you see the horizon? Is anyone else around? Try to notice the internal and external.

Taking notice can give you some respite from feeling busy and distracted and give your wellbeing a boost. It’s another great addition to your self-care routine, and something to practice daily, as often as possible.

If you’d like to learn about and practice being more mindful, apps like Headspace and Calm are packed with mindfulness tools that can help you create life-changing habits to support your wellbeing, helping you relax your mind, improve focus, and even get better sleep. Alternatively, go online for a wealth of resources, many free, to help you get started.

Go back to our summary page to explore other topics that are part of this series.

Join the conversation on social media. Share your own tips and experiences by using the hashtag #ChooseYou on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.