This is part 2 of the Mindfulness article last published of the series on Work Life Harmony (Being Mindful with Emotional Agility and Resilience). As we discussed the part of what we need to be mindful, this article will focus on how we can become mindful and what kind of training on mindfulness we need to do to master it. A good starting point is to change short and long term habitual patterns and attitudes to be mindful, which can be incorporated in our daily business and life tasks.
Attitudes to cultivate mindfulness:
In today’s busy modern world, mindfulness is cultivated through a mindset, an attitude. Here are a few essential ones to explore:
Fresh mind: empty your mind from your opinions and expertise in order to leave space and bring in a new vision, a new feel, on the inner and outer world.
Non-judgmental: is the most challenging mindset since we judge almost everything. What matters is to gain the awareness of the judging we profuse on every aspect of our life…without of course judging yourself.
Letting things be: allows things to be as they are versus forcing to have them a certain and desired way. When you are caught up in clinging to things that you cannot change, letting be is your only key to freedom of the mind and heart.
Patience: the wisdom of patience is something that is profoundly healing and restorative. When you learn to be patient with yourself, you occupy the present moment with peace, deep acceptance and the wisdom associated with them.
How do you practice mindfulness throughout your day?
Mindfulness is using two skills: focus and awareness: focusing your attention on the present moment as to awareness, it involves recognizing and letting go these inessential distractions.
In order to focus, relax, sit up right, close your eyes, and devote your undivided attention to your breathing. As you are inhaling and exhaling, silently count the seconds of each inhale and exhale, and gradually extend those seconds.
During this process, external distractions, and running thoughts and emotions naturally divert your mind. Without judging yourself, recognize and let go of these distractions by immediately restoring your attention to the inhaling and exhaling. Mindfulness trains your brain to focus regardless of the inner and external distractions.
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t need a specific training or time sacrifice, and is accessible to anyone one at anytime. Ideally, start with micro mindfulness sessions (three minutes) in the morning, afternoon and evening. As you are starting to realize its positive impact, gradually increase session duration and frequency accordingly, to reach your desired wellbeing and harmony.
It is very impactful during a meeting and/or verbal exchange you encounter to practice mindfulness by focusing on what is being said right here right now. Your focus allows you to listen in order to understand every word being spoken, while putting aside any distracting thought. During high concentration tasks, after removing distractions such as your mobile, access to your emails and social media, practicing mindfulness enhances your focus and productivity on the task at hand.
Benefits of Mindfulness:
Neuroscientists have shown that practicing mindfulness rewires your brain for self-regulation, for resisting distractions, for effective decision-making capabilities, and to protect itself from toxic stress. Indeed, these benefits take place in your inner and outer self.
Within your inner self, mindfulness allows you to:
Reduce the cortisol hormone in your blood thus decreasing your stress level, and preventing any stress related illnesses.
Gain awareness and recognize your emotions.
Regulate the impulses and emotions that jump start your brain into fight or flight mode.
Rewire your brain to focus on the here and now.
Reduce brain chatter.
Gain clarity of your thoughts and emotions.
Improve your judgment on yourself and others.
Provide clear and constructive feedback.
Take better decisions and improve you negotiation skills.
Develop empathy and gratitude towards yourself and others.
Experience inner peace.
For the outer self, mindfulness allows you to:
Choose the most appropriate action and or reaction according to circumstances.
Verbally demonstrate empathy through active listening and tone of voice.
Express empathy physically through your posture and facial expressions.
Enhance your verbal and written communications skills.
Focus on high concentration tasks at full potential.
Identify and avoid time wasters.
Identify and avoid procrastination.
Reach your goals.
Being mindful allows us to become more aware of our emotions, to accept them and to manage our reactions to them in the moment; thus we are able to embed the right attitudes to make better decisions and to reach successful outcomes at work and in life. Training ourselves to become mindful will help us to recognize important thoughts and ideas, and to filter them to make choices reflecting our best selves in everyday activities.
Shermeen Zeidan, Certified Master Coach and Rita Farah, Professional Coach