Mind Full or Mindful?
We’ve all been there – you’re responding to emails, checking social media, catching up on the news all while eating your breakfast and getting your gym clothes on to go running. This is not an unusual way for most people to start their day but it’s actually not a good way to start any day. The concept of mindfulness is not new. However, the benefits of are being emphasized in workplaces around the world because fast-paced environment we’ve become accustomed to. It is exactly at this point in time we need to better understand how we as humans function, and how we can improve performance by slowing down and doing less.
What is mindfulness?
You know that voice in your head?
Yeah, the one that’s constantly talking. Running through the list of things you need to do, noticing what so-and-so is wearing today, telling you to stop judging, imagining a worst-case scenario during your presentation today, and thousands of other things.
So, you do know that voice? It’s your thoughts. Do you also know you can watch, observe and listen to that voice without believing it? When you start to notice your thoughts and feelings without reacting you are practicing mindfulness.
Quite simply, mindfulness is the ability to be aware of your experiences and thoughts in the present moment.
Real, tangible benefits
People who practice mindfulness often found that they have stronger focus than those who don’t. This is because practicing mindfulness helps the individual from letting their mind wander and focus on the present. This means that those who practice mindfulness have higher levels of productivity and better able to concentrate on two different things at once.
Mindfulness also allows an individual to stay calmer in typically stressful situations. Mindfulness causes the ‘flight or fight’ part of the brain to interpret less things as a threat, meaning the individual stays calmer under pressure. This can make a person better able to deal with conflict at work or in their personal life because they are better equipped to process situations and analyse the threat.
Those who practice mindfulness are also more likely to have a better memory, especially in the short term. This is because mindfulness helps a person register things happening in the moment. By better registering the things that have actually happened then you are more likely to remember them. Good leaders remember important information about their employees. It informs their interactions and their coaching style on a day-to-day basis.
One of the things that a lot of people don’t know about mindfulness is that it allows people to be more forgiving and more accepting. It enables one to let go of the little things without getting caught up in the reaction. When someone says something that triggers us, mindful awareness enables us to recognize what is being said behind the words. We can pause to identify the source of our feelings and emotions, and better understand the other person’s intentions. By doing this we become more tolerant and accepting.
Resources: List of your favorite books and meditation apps.