Colleen's article was published in Classycareergirl.com. A leading site for loving work and life!
Are you feeling like you never have enough time in your day and you’re running around and not quite sure what you need to focus on?
One solution that is gaining a lot of attention in the press is mindfulness. Forbes, 60 Minutes, Fast Company, Inc. and others are all writing about it. Doctors, CEO’s, Sports Professionals, including Phil Jackson, the Coach of the NY Knicks, Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Tim Ryan, a Senator from Ohio, are all taking time out of their day to be mindful.
Mindfulness is a focused awareness on the present moment. It offers you the space within your mind to think more clearly plus the ability to respond to a situation versus react to it. As Arianna Huffington states, “Mindfulness is an essential part of being more effective and satisfied in work and life.”
The more you can discover and practice being mindful – the more benefits you can enjoy in our health, work, and overall well-being. Plus it is known to keep your brain young as well. According to research, the brains of those who practice mindfulness shows an increase in gray matter. Gray matter in your brain is a layer of tissue responsible for cognition and memory storage.
Scientists also know from a physical and mental well-being, practicing mindfulness can reduce heart disease, stress and even improve your immune system.
How do you become more mindful and present in your day to have more time and focus? To feel less stressed and happier?
Below are a few steps you can take to find balance and focus both on your work and your life.
1. Take a Focus Break. Take a “45-second focus break” throughout your day. Considering there are 1,440 minutes in a 24-hour period, a 45-second break really isn’t a lot of missed time. Try taking a deep breath and focusing on yourself as you walk to a meeting, before you pick up the phone or start a new project. The 45 seconds of focus in between meetings or projects will give you a little bit of space to think more clearly and approach a situation with a fresh perspective. Try a “focus break” every 2-3 hours.
2. Listen with Intent. When someone is speaking to you, whether it is your child or a co-worker, listen fully and focus on just that conversation. Give them your full attention. When you listen to someone fully, you learn new things and show more empathy and care for others. Listening builds trust, communication and focus.
3. Get Clear. When you are confronted with a situation that may not be favorable to respond, do your best to not react too quickly. Take one second to think about how you want to respond instead. When you practice mindfulness, you become more aware of the situation and view things differently. It gives you one second to not get emotionally wrapped up in something and instead gives you the ability to respond in a thoughtful, caring manner.
4. Be Grateful. When you are thankful and appreciate both the little and big things in life, your world opens up to new possibilities. According to a research study from Baylor University, gratitude can improve your health, relationships, energy and patience towards others. It can even make you happier. Start a gratitude journal and each day, write 3 things that you are grateful for.
5. Be Compassionate. According to research at Berkeley, when you practice mindfulness, you become more compassionate to yourself and others. With mindfulness, our “awareness” of what is happening becomes more compassionate and kind. This helps us see and respond more appropriately to a situation or individual.
6. Gain Confidence. Believe in yourself and know that you are worthy and capable of whatever you want to achieve. Build your self-confidence by recognizing what you are good at. Look at your failures as learning experiences and not something negative. Research shows that once you believe in yourself, you actually embody it.
Mindfulness is a fantastic foundation for a successful career and life. Practicing mindfulness is at the core of who you are. It requires practice but the benefits are plentiful and worth it.