When I first heard the term "practicing mindfulness", it stirred up images on me seating cross legged humming to myself and painfully trying to let my mind go blank.
The concept seemed way too “touchy feely” for me. I am more of a “stare blankly at the horizon with a nice glass of wine” type of gal! Well, imagine my surprise, when I realized that I was already practicing mindfulness...
M I N D F U L N E S S at a G L A N C E
Imagine that today was a great day - you are driving and singing to your heart’s content when suddenly you are pulled over and ticketed! Apparently, you did not come to a complete stop before continuing past the sign. How quickly did your day go from “happy joy joy” to feeling angry because you are certain that you stopped and remember slowly counting to THREE before moving forward again! No point in trying to dispute this fact with the police officer, whom you are certain ticketed you to reach his monthly quota. I imagine that many of us would feel upset, even a little deflated by this unforeseen situation. Let’s assume a few possible reactions to what happened:
Tell yourself that there are bigger things to worry about, pay the ticket and be done with it. Drive off - End of Story!
Drive home, still stewing over what happened, and suddenly in a terrible mood. Last thing you needed is that extra expense!
Which of the two feels more like a you are well on your way to practicing mindfulness? Both! Mindfulness is NOT about repressing your feelings and in scenario TWO, you are letting your mind and body acknowledge the negative emotion and then allowing your body to filter and absorb it. When you practice mindfulness, you master letting go of that negative feeling so that it does not completely overshadow the day’s more positive experiences – it's fine to be upset but don’t you want to get back to singing!?
M I N D F U L L N E S S as a T O O L
“Mindfulness is about changing your relationship with your thoughts and how you react to them”.
The basic concept of mindfulness is to approach every new situation without any pre-conceived notions, judgments, or the “oh, here we go again”. Just like in the example above, you still have the right to opinions about why you were ticketed and even feel upset but it does not need to paralyze your ability to think and act with clarity so that you don’t sabotage your day or well-being. Then maybe then can you get to the first reaction above and learn to let go!
“Mindfulness is about being present in the moment".
A 2010 Harvard study suggests that 47% of the time we are lost in thought. We have grown accustomed to performing tasks in autopilot mode. We rarely think through what we are doing and have become consciously unaware of our surroundings. Mindfulness helps us re-wire our brain and regain consciousness of the present, allowing us to experience life more creatively, calmly and with added clarity. I integrate Mindfulness in my coaching and advising practice to help my clients:
Reduce stress and anxiety and conflicts
Learn to unplug and reboot
Manage patterns and triggers
Increase creativity and confidence
Enhance their decision-making and problem-solving skills
Attain more inner peace, focus and forgiveness
Become more accepting and forge deeper connections