Views & Reviews

Living in the moment

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 06 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:560
  1. L V Campbell
  1. 1Diabetes Centre, St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, Sydney
  1. l.campbell{at}

“Eyes closed everyone. Just be in the moment. No extraneous thoughts at all, only your own sensations. Stay completely in the moment . . . totally relaxed. Soon you will be able to do this anywhere, any time, without even closing your eyes.”

The soothing voice flowed over the group of overstressed health professionals, who were straining to absorb the latest and the best in stress management. Doctors, nurses, and dietitians were trying hard to capture a feeling normally foreign to health workers: total submission to their immediate sensations. But the simple instructions proved difficult for people coiled as tightly as springs, always ready to face the next challenge or assault. Our enthusiastic young physiotherapist tutor looked disappointed and decided to call it a day earlier than expected. As we filed out he handed out printed summaries for us to study later.

As we emerged from the dim interior the issues of the day descended on us like a toxic cloud, filling our thoughts. Although we knew that most of the problems we wrestle with each day are forgotten in a year, swamped by even …

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