Put simply, being mindful is giving our full attention right now in the present-moment experience. We naturally find this challenging to do – so often we are dragged in all directions or perhaps allow ourselves to be. This practice helps reduce worrying and fretting, or churning over’ problems in a way that makes us mentally go round in circles, or get upset time and again by the same triggers . Mindfulness increases our enjoyment of life and our appreciation of the things that really matter most to us. Yet it’s easy to find reasons not to do it or to shrug it off as being meditation and not for us or just taking up too much time.
Mindfulness is something you can practise anywhere – in fact the very moment you are tempted to pick up your phone and start scrolling is when you could use that opportunity to simply be in your present moment.
Bringing mindfulness into our every day – did you know it’s actually easier to do something every day? And the benefits are multiple.
In the workplace it helps build teamwork, enhance creativity & communication and resolve conflict. It’s also been proven to enhance creativity, emotional resilience, clarity of thought and co-operation while reducing stress, feelings of powerlessness, fatigue and somatic illness. In short, taking time out of your day every day to be mindful increases your productivity and effectiveness.
- Schedule time for mindfulness every day: It’s actually easier to create a new habit if we make some time for it each and every day. I try to do this by walking and swimming because these activities help me to switch off and to give me some space to process things.
- Practise during “ordinary” activities: Anything can be used as an opportunity for practicing mindfulness and focusing on the present: apart from walking, awareness of the moment and what we are doing in that moment can be practiced while I’m cooking, showering, taking my son to school, baking cakes, singing with my choir, even eating – rather than rushing from one thing to the next.
- Practise mindfulness while I’m working: I know that practising this in everyday life already takes effort. Work is potentially even a harder area in which to practice mindfulness. The pressures are constant, the uncertainty even stronger. So how, just when it’d be easier to plug in 24/7 and there’s always something demanding my attention?
by slowing down – I have a huge “to-do” list when it comes to my work. It feels, literally, never-ending at the moment. I’m sure it’s no different for other people. But I also often deliberately slow down and by doing so. control the to-do list racing through my brain and tackle it with a different and fresher energy.
by really listening – taking the focus off myself and what I need to do and giving my energy and attention to whomever I am with. Paying them attention.
by focusing on breathing – last week I really noticed the tension I was carrying in my upper body. Breathing is crucial in the practice of mindfulness. It is something immediately accessible to us yet we don’t tap into near often enough.
by focusing on the language I use – I am so lucky: I love my work, I am doing what I want to do. Talking about being “snowed under’, “swamped” are not productive nor mindful ways to talk about what I love. The fact that I am so busy is a wonderful thing and an active choice that I have made.
by focusing on intention and outcome – the meetings, the emails, the negotiations, the planning – for each of these take time to focus on what I want the outcome to be and what my intentions are. That way, I’ll make these activities more focused, clearer and more productive.
The brilliant thing about all of this is that there are numerous opportunities each and every day for me and for you to focus on the practice of mindfulness.
I also run regular Lunchtime Mindfulness at 1 pm on Tuesdays – join us online!