Mindfulness is a term you have probably heard but may not be clear as to what it really means. According to mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis. Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain”.
I was a bit hesitant when asked at a meeting to close my eyes and breathe. It made me uncomfortable and I was adamant I would not be doing “those kinds” of activities. I refused to see how this could help me be better at work. I then learned more about mindfulness and meditation. I found that these practices can help me in not only my personal life but also my work life. I found myself reaching for my phone, searching articles, downloading apps, and using guided practices when I was stressed, tired, or when I just wanted to take some time for myself. I also learned being mindful does not eliminate negative thoughts but helps you recognize they are there and encourages you to accept them as what they are without judgement. Over time, mindfulness became a part of my everyday life.
I challenge each of you to consider what being mindful can do for you. Research it, the background, the practices, the implications it can have. There are many free websites and phone apps that offer guided meditations.
Below is a link to a video from Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, on what mindfulness is. I hope this is the beginning of your journey to being mindful.