What Does It Mean to Be Mindful?
Mindfulness has become such a buzzword that it's almost lost its meaning. It's on corporate websites, in articles in mainstream magazines, and inspired countless apps. Some of these places refer to actual mindfulness, others use the term but widely miss the mark. In my book, I go into detail about the difference between mindfulness and meditation, but I'm going to keep it simple.
Mindfulness is about paying attention.
That's basically it.
So obviously there's a bit more to it than that, but it all comes back to that simple idea. Paying attention to your environment, to your body, to the person who is speaking with you, to the floor you are sweeping. But in practicing mindfulness you are paying attention to that thing, and only that thing.
Being mindful is a skill and so earning to do it effectively takes practice. Just like learning to play baseball starts with playing some pepper in the yard, or learning to play the piano starts with one hand and simple scales, being mindful starts with keeping it simple and learning to put all your attention on one simple thing. Traditionally, that involves sitting on a cushion and counting or paying attention in some way to your breathing. This is pretty good, but it's also pretty hard. My goal is to make learning to be mindful something that is applied to your life, a source of relief from stress, not another thing on your long to-do list.
So why do we want to create an internal culture of mindfulness? It's because being present quiets our minds, tamps down the chatter, and gives them room. In that room that is created by that quiet, present mind, we have room to see our reactions, decide how to respond to them, get a big picture of events, circumstances and people (including ourselves) that allows us to be more understanding and less fearful.
Whether you are a project manager, an athlete under pressure, a teacher with a room full of challenging students, a first responder who needs to be able to focus on a moment's notice, or an artist dealing with a creative block, creating a spacious mind by learning to apply the principles of mindfulness to your everyday life will, in a way that is sneaky and delightful, make your life better.
If you'd like to know more about ways you can learn to be more mindful right now, click here and I'll send you 8 Tips for Being More Mindful at Work so you can get started.
How do you do this and what does it look like when it takes affect? I'll be telling you, so subscribe now to learn more.