Mindfulness is most simply put being aware and present at any given moment of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Practicing mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement This can be a disconcerting practice for anyone, most notably those that struggle with anxiety and depression. For mindfulness to be effective during our most trying times, it is important to get into the habit of daily mindfulness practice, so that these techniques can be easily accessed even during times of high stress.
Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety and conflict, and increase resilience and emotional intelligence, while improving communication in the workplace. In the current economic climate, employees are being asked to do more with less, working long hours with increasingly heavy workloads. Implementing mindfulness daily can help alleviate this stress. Over time with mindfulness, we learn to develop the inner resources that will help us navigate through difficult, trying, and stressful situations with more ease, comfort, and grace. A simple mindfulness practice is the one-minute meditation. Find a quiet place and focus your attention on your breath. If your mind wanders, bring your concentration back to your breath then relax as the calm unfolds.
Regular practice of mindfulness increases the brain’s ability to repair itself and grow new neural connections. The neurological benefits of mindfulness have been linked to an increase in emotional intelligence, specifically empathy and self-regulation. It’s the development of these areas that contributes to our ability to manage conflict and communicate more effectively. Mindfulness also enables us to take a step back and consider alternative perspectives rather than simply reacting to events and using the least intelligent area of our brains to make decisions. Mindfulness helps us to flick the switch back to the smart parts of our brain to put us back in control of our emotions, enabling us to choose a more appropriate response.
Be patient with yourself when developing any new skills, especially mindfulness. As with all good things practice makes perfect!