The Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness

We’ve heard a lot about mindfulness in the last few years.

Shops are full of mindfulness colouring-in and self-help books.

People claim it will help us reduce our stress levels and get more done.

But how exactly can colouring in and doing things slower help us improve our performance?

Well, to understand that, we need to have a better understanding of what mindfulness really is – and isn’t.

Being mindful helps us to really focus on the moment at hand.

Too often we are distracted by what happened in the past, or what might be going to happen in the future. But, in order to do our best work, we need to ensure that our energy and attention are directed only towards what is happening in this specific moment.

This means blocking out any white noise or interfering factors, abandoning multi-tasking and truly focusing on the task at hand.

In doing so, we heighten our experience, slow down the process, truly connect with the task and retain the information.

So, lets look closely at how and why we should practise mindfulness.

Let Go of the Past

You may have had disappointing results in the past, failed, or even embarrassed yourself.

Too often we let these feelings carry over and negatively influence our future as well.

But the thing is, just because it didn’t work out for you last time is no indication that it won’t work this time.

You have learnt and grown since that moment and are no longer the person you were the last time you tried. If you are different, there is every chance that the results will be too.

The trick is to let go of the past. Accept what has happened, take what you can learn from it, and then put it behind you.

You can’t change the past, but you can change or control the impact it has on your future.

 

Remove Distractors

We all have many distractions in our lives – activities that other people are engaging in, external commitments, technology, noise, things we need to do … the list is endless really

But in order to be mindful, we need to deliberately and consciously shut these distractions out or choose to ignore them.

Focus your attention only on the task at hand.

Giving something your undivided attention will ensure a better understanding and retention of the information.

It will also help you finish the task more efficiently as you are not having to constantly switch from one activity, or one lot of content, to another.

 

For more information on this, read our blog 5 Reasons to Stop Multitasking

 

Improve Fulfilment

When we direct our complete attention to what is happening in the moment, we heighten our awareness of our surroundings, and engage all of our senses in it.

Close your eyes and imagine walking through an open field.

Now really shut out any distractions and zoom in on what is around you.

Hear the birds in the trees.

Feel the gentle, warm sun on your shoulders.

Smell the fresh grass, and deeply breathe in the fresh air.

Feel the coolness of the soft, velvety grass beneath your feet.

See the open space, the greenness of the grass, the flowers…

By engaging all of your senses, you will take in your surroundings much more deeply and they will leave a true impression on you.

Grounding yourself in the moment will also bring a sense of calmness and serenity which allows you to remove any sense of fear or stress.

Mind full or Mindful?

Improve Energy Levels

The calmness and relaxation we gain from mindfulness really helps us to improve our energy and our levels of motivation.

It is easier to want to do things when we approach them calmly and rationally.

It helps us drown out all the distracting white noise – our own self doubt, other people’s opinions and any external influences.

Many people mistake mindfulness for mindlessness, where you zone out completely and go into a zen-like state of relaxation and serenity.

Rather, it is an opportunity to truly focus in on the moment at hand an to give it your full and undivided attention.

Being fully present in the moment and engaging all of our senses provides a natural energy hit that makes us feel positive, engaged and successful.

Think about eating your dinner. Usually we just put food into our mouths, chew and swallow without really thinking what we are doing.

But what if we were to eat more mindfully?

What if we took the time to really savour our food, to try and identify all the different flavours, the feel the texture of the different foods?

Not only would eating become a much more stimulating activity and our food far more enjoyable, but by slowing down the process we would also greatly improve our digestion.

10 Ways to Improve Mindfulness

So, how can we become more mindful in an increasingly chaotic world.

Here are 10 things you can easily do that will increase your mindfulness and your engagement while reducing your stress.

  1. Get out into nature. We feel much more grounded and centred when we are in nature. Really take in your surroundings and engage all of your senses to help you notice everything around you.
  2. Practise deep breathing. Taking long, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth will also help you to calm and centre yourself.
  3. Say positive affirmations. Reminding yourself of how capable and in control you are will keep you positive, motivated and determined.
  4. Spend time being creative, drawing, doodling or colouring. This helps to calm you while also heightening your focus on one task.
  5. Acknowledge and release your feelings. It’s not healthy to ignore or bottle up your feelings, but it’s also not good to hold onto them. Allow yourself 10 minutes a day to acknowledge your feelings, consider what they are telling you and then release them.
  6. Write in a journal. Journaling helps us to track our progress and to offload our thoughts. Once they are down on paper, our brains no longer feel that they need to retain the information or the emotions and we can move forward.
  7. Slow down and focus on only one thing at a time. Engaging all 5 senses will not only slow the process down, but also heighten the experience for you, making it easier to recall.
  8. Do some exercise. Taking a walk or doing some form of stretching such as Pilates or yoga will help you to relieve the tension in your body.
  9. Take a shower. The warmth and gentleness of a shower is relaxing and gives the mind time to both calm and focus. Often having a shower helps you overcome mind blocks and difficulties that are affecting your work.
  10. Meditate. There are so many apps and free Youtube clips that will help you to meditate, calming your mind and your body and removing the negative blocks that are holding you back.

Conclusion

Being more mindful helps us to shut out much of the noise and busyness of our daily lives. It gives us an opportunity to ground and centre ourselves, which in turn clears our minds.

Engaging all 5 senses in a process helps us heighten our connection with the experience and ensures that information will be retained more readily.

By slowing down a little we actually can achieve more in our lives, with less pressure and stress.

What techniques can you adopt to become a little more mindful?