Mindfulness: What it is, Why it Matters, What You Can Do

Mindfulness: What it is, Why it Matters, What You Can Do

Mindfulness, a core career and life strength, is the practice of becoming more fully aware of, and focused on, what’s taking place within and around you. It’s concentration on steroids.

I write tips on how mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling can help you love your career. As a bonus, most of these tips will also enhance your overall quality of life, in the face of constant change and disruption.

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

 

Curious to learn more? Start with this blog, check out my books, and join our learning community to receive exclusive content each month.



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