We are living in tumultuous times. Many of us are sitting reading this not quite sure what is around the corner particularly with our work. Our jobs pay the bills, occupy many of our waking hours and can even give our lives meaning. At the moment we are grappling with home working which can weirdly be more exhausting than going out to work. Our days feel slightly 'ground hog' stretching out in front of us with no clear boundaries to enable us to switch off. And don't get me started on the anxiety and brain numbness countless zoom meetings can have on our sanity!
Ambiguity about the future and new working conditions to grapple with can be anxiety-provoking. Mindfulness can help. There are simple ways to reduce the impact all this stress can have on your mind and body.
Mindfulness — paying attention to the present moment in an accepting, non-judgmental way. Put simply it is a way to train your brain. Most of the time the part of the brain that is in charge of thinking is turned on, thinking about the future, dwelling on the past, worrying or dreaming. Mindfulness brings us back to the moment right now, gives us the space to observe our reactions, take what is helpful and let go of what is not. It leads to less stress, a calmer and kinder way of treating yourself.
Mindfulness is a simple practice that anyone can do pretty much anywhere, from taking a walk during the day to building in 5-minute pauses throughout your day.
Our working day and actually our evenings, nights and weekends are bombarded with information (we are encouraged to be attached to a variety of technology 24-7) which can be anxiety producing, creating a sense of disconnection that overwhelm us in all areas of our lives
Mindfulness can help in numerous ways from improving creativity to sleep and even our focus. When we have a number of tasks to complete, particularly while we work from home, with home schooling, personal stuff and work on top we are constantly flitting from one task to another, the quality of our work can suffer. Multi-tasking isn’t as effective as we may have thought, and it may actually prevent ourselves from getting the actual work done. By practicing mindfulness — simply coming back to the present moment over and over again — we can train ourselves to become more focused.
Let me make this clear mindfulness isn’t about stopping our thinking, or to empty the mind. Mindfulness is about paying close attention to your physical sensations, thoughts and emotions in order to see them more clearly, without making so many assumptions, or making up stories.
Though mindfulness meditation was inspired by Buddhist practices, today it is available as a practice that emphasises stress reduction, the cultivation of focus and the development of calm. And today, there’s a large and growing body of research identifying the measurable effects of mindfulness on the body and brain.
Author: Tracey West is the Founder and Resilience & Wellness Coach at Purple Hat Coaching.