Mindfulness is the awakening of possibility and the possibility of awakening. (Donald Altman)
Mindfulness- What is it?
To quote Jon Kabat Zinn, a pioneer in modern mindfulness studies “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally”
Mindfulness is "Being in the Zone", you are fully present, focused and engaged in the present moment with both and internal and external awareness.
Mindful awareness is essential for learning to not identify ourselves with our thoughts. Mindfulness helps us to see judgements for what they are, just thoughts with a point of view. Many times those thoughts are the result of beliefs established in childhood and from trauma. When we bring awareness to something, it becomes enveloped in a spacious clarity. Awareness is like the Sky and thoughts are just the clouds passing through the Sky. You can notice them come and go, but you don’t hold onto them.
I personally like to refer to this as being a conscious observer. It’s when there is space between you and whatever is happening in your environment. You are fully in the present moment working on your task or having a conversation, while noticing what’s going on around you and what things are worth your attention and which ones to leave out of your attention or focus. It assists in breaking free from auto-pilot and habitual behaviors and responses providing more flexibility in thoughts and actions.
When you practice mindfulness, you build your attention muscle. You learn to manage your attention. According to Neuroscience, the brain has a huge neural network that can be rewired by how we use it to create new states of being. The prefrontal cortex is your attention muscle . Mindfulness can assist in reprogramming your mind by becoming more conscious of your unconscious behaviors. Enabling you to choose more effective responses and efficient actions.
Mindfulness is a balance between mind and emotions which helps us to maintain an inner balance. It helps us to sustain Coherence, which is when the wise heart and mindful mind are aligned and communicating effectively. It is an alignment of body, mind and emotions. This leads to increased emotional stability, improved emotional processing and a healthier response to stress leading to greater resilience and sustained energy.
We have all experienced time and again how important effective communication is in life and at work. One of the greatest causes of stress is ineffective communication. In today’s rapidly changing work environment the increased demands and expectations can cause communication breakdowns. This is fertile ground for communication breakdowns. It has been proven that 70% of mistakes can be traced back to ineffective communication. Good communication involves both what you say and hear.
Mindfulness can be an effective practice to keep you embodied and engaged in the present moment. Mindfulness is a way to ensure you are bringing your A game of “personal excellence” with you each day, improving your performance at work.
Here is a brief list of how mindfulness can positively impact you personally and your life.
Decreases attachment to our beliefs, thoughts and emotions
Decreases habitual responses allowing you to choose more effective responses and efficient actions
Improved attention, focus and decision making
Improved relationships with your co-workers, friends and family
Enhanced performance and personal effectiveness
Increased well-being and optimism, New insights and fresh perspectives
Healthier response to stress - Increased energy, vitality and resilience
Improved emotional processing
Enhanced emotional awareness and increased emotional stability
Fosters clear thinking and openheartedness
Increased creativity and compassion
So, how do you start a Mindfulness practice?
Here are 10 ways to begin living with increased mindfulness....
The first thing is to “set your day”. This is where you do a morning meditation. (Yes, meditation is part of it). It can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutesI have not had a person yet tell me they are great at meditating when I tell them what I am doing now. I believe Mindfulness Meditation to be the most effective. In Mindfulness Meditation, you focus your attention on the Heart (breathing in through the high heart/chest area) with a feeling of appreciation, ease or gratitude.
Practicing a few minutes of gratitude, reflecting on the things that you are grateful for in your life and setting intentions for what you want to create in your day, life, work or relationships.
Hit the reset button during the day. Just take 3 deep mindful breaths while being fully present in your body. You are already breathing, why not do it mindfully and recharge yourself?
If you notice that a trigger is about to be pushed or has been, tell yourself silently to “breathe”, then take a mindful deep breath and put space between the action and your response. Allowing your response to be more mindful.
Winding down your day with a brief meditation right before you go to sleep helps to ensure a more positive and restful sleep.
I hope you find these techniques and tools helpful as you continue on your path towards more Mindful Living!
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