Daily mindfulness is the practise of focusing on the moment.
Many people often assume it’s about clearing your mind or forcing yourself to feel calmer, but this isn’t the case. Calmness and relaxation can be benefits of regularly practising mindfulness, though.
Think of mindfulness as exercise for your brain. In the same way that running benefits your heart and lungs, mindfulness benefits your concentration and emotions.
Some days you may find it easy, other days it may be more of a challenge. That’s why it’s called a mindfulness practice. Just like when you go for a jog, every day is slightly different.
If you stop practising regularly for any reason, the benefits you experience will go down over time. It’s therefore important that if you really want to experience the benefits, you stick with it and find time to do it at least every couple of days so that you can really boost your brain.
It’s not just about or personal wellbeing, though. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development estimates that UK businesses lose £1,800 per employee per year because of stress-related absenteeism. So it’s just as important that businesses offer support to help employees look after their mental health and wellbeing.
“I did the introduction to mindfulness course – the title intrigued me as there's been a lot of stuff in the papers about mindfulness and I was keen to know more. It was fascinating – it was all about being self-aware, thinking about why you do things and making sure you have a positive attitude. It's about staying in the moment instead of getting caught up with the past and future. “
Stress often comes from worrying about what’s happened and what we could’ve done differently/better, or concerns about the future.
As mindfulness encourages us to be in the moment, and focus on what’s around us, it helps us to lower our stress levels and take things one step at a time.
If you’re feeling stressed at work, here are five steps to help reduce your stress levels so that you can focus more.
The key aspect of mindfulness, and any meditation practice, is focusing on one thing at a time. Focus on what’s in front of you and nothing else.
A regular mindfulness practice can, over time, help you focus more on projects that you’re working on, which can lead to better results.
While many people often praise the concept of multi-tasking, it can lead to more errors and higher stress levels. Focusing on one task at a time can reduce these things and help you get tasks done faster.
Mindfulness helps to reduce our temptation to catastrophise. Which means we have greater control over our emotions and we’re less likely to act impulsively.
Breathing exercises can really help to pull you out of negative emotions if you feel your emotions beginning to nosedive. Here are some breath exercises you could try.
As your communication skills improve, so, too, will your personal and professional relationships.
Mindfulness can really help you to see what other people think and feel, which can provide great benefits to your life, and the lives of the people around you.
When our emotions get the better of us, we can get swept away in the moment. Slowing our brains down to focus on the moment pulls us away from how we feel so that we can see situations, and ourselves, more objectively. This can help us problem solve more effectively and efficiently, and handle difficult situations more comfortably.
“The idea of staying consistent and "practice makes progress" - it's so simple but I probably would have overlooked it.”
comment from course attendee
Because of the improved self-awareness and emotional regulation, mindfulness can help us communicate better with those around us. We’re less focused on our own needs and more in tune with what’s happening around us, including what the people around us are saying, doing, and feeling.
Mindfulness practices can improve chronic pain symptoms, regardless of their cause. It helps to slow down the overactive nervous system’s response, which is one of the major causes of chronic pain.
Mindfulness also helps you to identify triggers which may exacerbate your chronic pain, such as meeting anxiety, certain tasks that you dislike, or people in the office.
You don’t have to start big. You could start by focusing on the here and now in between tasks, or when you’re doing something that would normally cause you to daydream.
You could even practise mindfulness at work, taking a few deep breaths to improve your focus, reduce your stress levels, and enhance your performance.
When you go for a walk, consider paying attention to the sensory details you don’t usually notice because you’re too busy thinking:
It’s amazing what you notice when you pay attention.
“My caba counsellor taught me very simple techniques - like mindfulness, to help me stay in the moment and calm down. It was amazing, it really worked. It was only during the sixth session that I realised I'd stopped having panic attacks.”
Alternatively, you could try a short meditation, like a body scan. This helps us to observe the sensations of the body in an objective way. It can be particularly useful for long-term or chronic pain conditions as a way to calm overactive nervous systems.
If you’d like to try mindfulness for yourself, check out our beginner’s guide.
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