It’s easy to understand why mindfulness has entered the mainstream. It builds a sense of self-worth, focus, creativity, awareness, and happiness. It improves our sleep, reduces stress, and eases anxiety. There are even some indications that it improves our physical health and extends our lives. At work, it can make us happier and more fulfilled, helping us to excel. It seems that every aspect of life can benefit from being more mindful.
Increased focus and productivity are two of the advantages that can impact your job directly and quickly. Being able to get tasks done efficiently creates space to knuckle down and to tackle those big problems effectively. Thinking clearly and creatively gives you more insight into how to solve those problems too.
That’s all indisputable. But what exactly is mindfulness? You probably have some vague idea about it already. Images of yogi in lotus pose or sounds of Tibetan prayer bowls may be going through your head. Though these more sacred connotations of mindfulness may help some achieve a more mindful state, they could also cloud what is exactly is meant by mindfulness. You do not have to be religious or spiritual to start reaping the benefits of mindfulness.
The heart of mindfulness is paying attention to yourself, your feelings, and your surroundings without judgment. It is focusing on breath, on emotions, and on your reactions without trying to change or adjust them. It requires being fully present and aware in the moment.
The good news is that it is easy to get started. There are many great resources, apps, videos, podcasts, online classes, and more to help you start your journey. But mindfulness is a skill and like all skills, it has to be nurtured and developed. It takes commitment and time. It takes ambition to learn and discipline to master. However, like I said, starting out is easy.
One of the most popular avenues to begin, and the one I started with, is Headspace. This subscription app service was founded by Andy Puddicombe, a British Buddhist monk whose goal it is to make mindfulness easily accessible. He does this through a series of guided meditations. The initial course is great as it introduces various techniques and builds up your skill as individual classes get longer. After the basics course, there are guided meditations to help boost focus and productivity or to lower stress. Individual classes are between 10-20 minutes, but there are also SOS classes, 3-minute-long meditations that help you deal with feeling flustered, overwhelmed, or burnt out.
There are also courses on YouTube and Spotify. There are loads of other apps, like Calm or Aura, as well. These come with free trials, so you can find one that suits you. They’ve helped me and they can help you feel happier and more fulfilled at work. So, if you want to start feeling calmer, more focused, and productive, get the creative juices flowing. It is time to sit back, close your eyes and start focusing on your breath.