I used to think that to become mindful I needed to be at a retreat far away, up in the Himalayan mountains for weeks on end. I’d visualize myself in monk clothes, sitting in an easy pose, meditating.

And that sounds like an awesome experience — but what do you do when you’re not lucky enough to be on a retreat? Or on vacation, relaxing in the sun? Am I simply cursed to be stressed out daily, with no hope of respite and restfulness except when on holiday?

I say, “No way!”

I deserve to feel good every day. And even on the most challenging days, I know I can still create peace inside.

So how do I do that?

It’s pretty simple: I take a minute or two every couple of hours and follow my breath.

I ask myself, “Am I breathing?” And — fortunately — the answer is “Yes, I am!” This takes me to the present. From there, inhale, exhale: I just keep breathing.

It’s as simple as that. You don’t have to be a monk to be mindful; anyone can do it.

Ditteke Ederveen-Gorman writes from Keene. She has been helping people to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into their daily lives, so that they feel happier and more peaceful. A former model and actress, she writes, teaches and speaks about mindfulness to adults and children. Visit her blog at www.dittekeyogablog.wordpress.com.