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Kate Hughes – “Our minds aren’t Amazon Prime.”

Kate Hughes was once so stressed she lost vision in one eye. Now, having left her former life as a solicitor and started a meditation practice, she is calmer and more present than ever before. Kate tells us how to approach meditation and mindfulness in simple, straightforward ways. Listen on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and TuneIn.

  • “Mindfulness is essentially paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, with no judgement. It’s about being present in the moment but not beating yourself up over the fact that your mind’s probably going to wonder.”
  • “In recent years, our lifestyles have changed dramatically. We are faced with a constant bombardment of demands on our time, particularly with technology. And I think it’s even more important now that everyone has an understanding of how to cope with that.”
  • “[When I was working as a solicitor] I was on a complete hamster wheel, and I couldn’t really see a way out of it. I thought holidays were a bit of respite for me, but all that happened was that in the weeks leading up to the holiday, the stress went through the roof trying to get everything ready. Holidays got longer and longer because for the first week or so I was still really stressed out; and then I’d get back to work and everything would be exactly as it was when I left.”
  • “Some stress can be good stress. Some of the best thing that happen in our lives are the most stressful—getting married, moving house, new jobs—they’re the exciting things, but they can also ramp up the stress levels. So you don’t need to be how I was, on my kness wondering where the finish line was, to get the benefits [of meditation].”
  • “For me, one of the great side-effects of meditation is that the highs and lows aren’t how they were before. I used to be either absolutely buzzing, or on the floor. Now, my life is much more of a constant.”
  • “Everyone’s heard of fight or flight, but I’d never heard of rest and digest, which is the flip-side of the fight or flight.”
  • “There’s a really important breathing exercise that I teach everyone, and I call it my Martini breathing because you can do it anytime, any place, anywhere.”
  • “There’s a form of meditation to suit everyone, and none of this is rocket science—it’s really simple, and it’s tried and tested over thousands of years. We’ve thrown science into the mix now and we can literally see how our brains and bodies behave when we practice meditation.”
  • “People often ask me, ‘When’s the best time of day to meditate?’ The best time of day is when you can fit it into your schedule.”
  • “It’s important to understand that [with meditation] you’re not trying to stop your thoughts from coming. You’re just going to sit and you’re going to recognise that you can feel your body and be aware of your thoughts, but for these two or five minutes—whatever you’ve chosen—you’re going to count your breath.”
  • “You’re trying to change your neural pathways and this takes practice.”
  • “Our minds aren’t Amazon Prime—it ain’t turning up in the morning just because you ordered it. You have to work at it.”
  • “Discipline isn’t about choosing what you want for yourself now; it’s about choosing what you want for yourself for the future. You’re weaving your parachute in the good times because the bad times will come.”