The next stop is mindfulness says voice artist Emma

Pack your pants, arrange for someone to feed the goldfish and prepare yourself for the mindful journey of a lifetime.

Emma Clarke’s ‘You Are Here’ is a traveller’s companion like no other – it helps you to discover new places AND discover yourself. The reader is invited to see every aspect of their holiday with fresh eyes and record their adventures, thoughts and feelings with some guiding signposts provided along the way.

Emma is known to millions as the enfant terrible of the voiceover world, the ‘Mind the Gap’ voice who shot to fame when she recorded some spoof travel announcements – but what’s lesser known is that she is now a published author and mindfulness practitioner.

“It’s quite possible to travel, whether on a holiday or a gap year, and for your body to be in the right place but not your mind. ‘You Are Here’ aims to get you in the right place mentally for the experience, to take you off the fast-moving conveyor belt of the 9 to 5 and help place your mind and body in a state of relaxed readiness.

“When you first set foot in a new place, whether it’s a holiday destination, a landmark or just the accommodation where you’ve chosen to hang your hat for a few days, it’s worth reflecting that no-one will have ever seen it in quite the way you’re doing, in that moment. Those are the moments to savour, the sights and smells the book invites you to record.

“There’s a Kate Bush song, Jig of Love, from the Hounds of Love album, where she sums it up perfectly:

“’I put this moment here, I put this moment here, put this moment over here, over here’.

“I encourage readers to save a moment on a page, a personal mindful experience: sounds, smells, textures, to help them connect with their destination. But the most important thing is to get your mind in the right place first of all, then you’re mentally in a state to enjoy your surroundings.”

Emma’s interest in mindfulness evolved when she had to cope with a terminal illness in the family. But what is mindfulness? And how did it help?

“I call mindfulness my ‘mental hygiene’ routine. I’ve practiced it for fifteen years and my life has benefited hugely. My mind feels messy and disordered without it.

“Mindfulness is about being in the moment, being in the now. Being truly, deeply aware of where you are, what you’re doing, how you’re feeling and why you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing. That means not dwelling too much on the past or worrying about the future, just eking out as much enjoyment and personal growth as you can from every single moment of your life. It’s about making deliberate choices, planning your own journey, rather than allowing life to dictate it. Thinking this way forces you to take personal responsibility for everything you do, and to consider making changes if you’re not happy. It also includes mindful breathing and positively releasing tension.

“Watching a loved one fade is a tough time for anyone. I coped by developing a very practical strategy to help me deal with the challenges life threw up at that time. Practising mindful meditation kept me sane. Without it I think I would have become a basket case!”

MINDFULNESS HABIT MAKERS …AND BREAKERS

Mindfulness habit makers and breakers help you develop a behaviour you want to adopt. You will no doubt have some of your own, but here are a few of Emma’s suggestions to get you started…

  • Make time to meditate, just ten minutes a day will make a difference.
  • Develop mindfulness by prompting yourself to think about what you can see, hear, smell, touch, taste and how you’re feeling in that specific moment.
  • Eat mindfully too; you might set a reminder to eat a piece of fruit.
  • Take more time out – go and sit in the sunshine, stand up from your desk, go and talk to someone, listen to your favourite music.
FIVE THINGS YOU’D NEVER HAVE GUESSED ABOUT EMMA CLARKE…
  • Emma is an award winning broadcaster, best known as the ‘Mind the Gap’ lady on London Underground, but she is now also a published author with four books to her name.
  • She has also written plays, sketches and sitcoms for radio, television and stage and occasionally dabbles in stand-up comedy.
  • Her voice also pops up in talking toys, supermarkets and public transport systems, as well as on radio and television stations across the world.
  • For her 24th birthday, her father bought her own grave.
  • The Sunday Sport once asked her to pose for a topless photo shoot, but she politely declined…

 ENDS

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