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Mindfulness, a core career and life strength, is the practice of becoming more fully aware of, and attentive to, what’s taking place within and around you. It’s focus and concentration on steroids, with a big dosage of stress reduction.

I’m a Nashville-based writer, talent strategist, and certified executive coach. On this website, I primarily write stories featuring a diverse group of professionals whose tips on applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling will help you love your career and enhance your quality of life.

These characters face familiar pain points: nonstop change, accelerating technological disruption, and the collective “noise” that grows louder each day. The impact, for these professionals and for many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress. Until, however, each of these individuals chooses to do something new: practicing mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling habits, and growing them into strengths…strengths that respond to change rather than just react.

Mindfulness is not only the seventh path of Buddhism’s Noble Eight-fold Path, but it’s the primary energy that puts the Buddha’s teaching into action. It involves deliberate efforts to become more fully present to what’s happening right now, primarily through developing two key habits:
Pausing: calming practices for whenever we feel “triggered” by circumstances, or during our “down time”:
  • Focusing on our breathing, by silently counting each in-breath and out-breath
  • Taking a walk (without technology!), paying close attention to what we’re seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, and smelling
  • Eating mindfully, by taking our time with each bite and not multi-tasking
  • Sitting comfortably or lying on our back on the carpet, and directing our attention to each part of our body in order to notice where it might be tense—and then focusing on our breathing while we tenderly observe this tension
  • Silently reciting what’s called the loving-kindness mantra: “May I be safe and protected from inner and outer harm.”

Reflecting: investing time, at our earliest opportunity, to more deeply consider the habitual thinking and beliefs that might be the sources of our difficulties:

  • Reflecting on bodily sensations (tension, stomach ache, headache, back ache, shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, dry throat, perspiration, etc.)
  • Reflecting on emotional distress (anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, shame, grief, disappointment, etc.)
  • Reflecting on negative perceptions or assumptions (“no one likes me, no one appreciates me, I’m going to get fired,” etc.)

Why Mindfulness Matters

There’s more research (such as this Forbes article) on the benefits of mindfulness than you or I can ever hope to read, but here’s the highlights of why mindfulness is worth doing:

  • Reduced stress
  • Increased focus and concentration
  • Increased productivity
  • Healthier relationships
  • Increased happiness and inner peace

Get started today with building mindfulness habits and growing them into strengths. Start with this blog, check out my books, and join our learning community to receive free, exclusive content each month.

John M. DeMarco is a writer, strategist, and executive coach based in Nashville, Tennessee.
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