Mindfulness has become quite a fashionable word in recent years. Most of us have heard of it but not everyone is au fait with what it actually means and how we may be able to incorporate it in to our busy and often stressful working lives.
With Buddhist origins, mindfulness is, very simply, letting ourselves to be present in this moment. It’s not allowing yourself not to be affected by your past or your future because we are focusing on right now . To be aware of what we are doing, how that makes us feel and allowing our mind to let go of what is going on around us. It reduces stress levels and as our awareness is raised, it reminds us of who we really are and what is important in the grand scheme of things. A survey by Oxford University found that practicing mindfulness can reduce a relapse of depression by almost half and whilst it’s by no means a replacement for seeking professional medical support, it’s certainly proven to be of benefit.
It’s important to realise that our external environment does not hold the power to control us. A fast paced or noisy environment can soon take its toll, especially if you are sensitive and this can in turn lead to a sense of overwhelm. This is where mindfulness, which is essentially a form of meditation, can greatly assist your mental and physical wellbeing.
Before you say that you don’t have time for that as you’re far too busy, think again. A few minutes each day can work wonders. You can do this sitting, walking or standing. Lying down is not advisable as one, you would probably become so relaxed that you’d fall asleep and two, it’s not generally accepted to take yourself off for a lie down at work! It’s now time to gift yourself with some ‘me time’. For the next few minutes, nothing matters but you.
Make yourself comfortable and take the first step to focus on how you feel, the chair you’re sitting on, the shoes you’re wearing, the aroma or taste of your coffee. If you’re near a window or outside can you feel the air flowing ? The birds singing? Pay attention to your body. Are you tense? Take three long deep breaths and exhale very gently then try to become aware of your breathing. As you exhale, imagine negativity and stress leaving your body. Try to disassociate from unwanted or distracting thoughts that run through your mind. Instead, keep returning the spotlight on to your breathing.
Deep satisfaction can be found in the stillness of your mind, simply allowing peaceful energy to flow through you and around you.
Albert Einstein, the widely acknowledged theoretical physicist once said “ A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future”. More recently, Oprah Winfrey, multi billionaire and best known for her talk show, said “ ...being still with ourselves....it’s more important than the work you are doing....”. Well, if it’s good enough for Oprah then it’s good enough for me.