Everyone talks about being more mindful, but what exactly does it entail? By Balvinder Sandhu
Three easy ways to practise mindfulness. Photo: Antonio Guillem / www.123rf.com
Mindfulness is a buzzword these days but what does it mean exactly? It's a Buddhist concept that has been revived with a modern twist and basically means having an awareness of everything that's going on. It's about living in the present moment and paying attention to what's going on, while not judging anything. When you practice mindfulness properly, it can help to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as increase your emotional intelligence and improve communication in the workplace. Here's how you can practise this.
As with everything new, it should be adopted in phases, not all at once, so you'll gradually get used to the concept. Start slowly by working on one thing at a time, as you can't just become 'mindful' of everything overnight. So, perhaps, give yourself a different goal every week. For example, tell yourself at the start of the week that your goal is to become more aware of [insert idea here] and practice it by paying attention to that area of your work. This could be anything from being more aware of smiling at the cleaning aunty to not shouting at any of your staff...whatever you wish to work on is fine.
START THE DAY RIGHT
You shouldn't just practice mindfulness when you get to the office, it should start the minute you wake up in the morning. One of the best ways to be more aware of your surroundings is to breathe. So, instead of jumping out of bed and getting to your routine right away – or checking your phone the minute you open your eyes – take a few minutes to be aware of how you feel, what your plans are for the day and how you intend to go about the work day. And take a few deep breaths while you're doing this.
One of the best ways of practicing awareness and therefore mindfulness is to listen. Pay attention to what people around you are saying, instead of just watching their mouth move while not actually knowing what's coming out of it. Stop the whirl that's usually going on in your mind – we know you're thinking about your to-do list or what to have for dinner – and focus on the person in front of you and what they're saying.
A version of this story originally appeared in www.herworldplus.com.