Mindfulness: Living in the Here and Now?
Mindfulness. Everybody is doing it from Google to Price Waterhouse Coopers to Deutsche Bank but what is it and why are they bothering?
Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts describes Mindfulness as ‘The first step on the adventure involved in coming to our senses on any and every level…the cultivation of a particular kind of awareness known as mindfulness’. Put simply, mindfulness is being fully present in the moment, living life in the now instead of in yesterday or in tomorrow or worrying about what might happen, one day.
So how do you know if you’re experiencing Mindfulness? Ask yourself a few simple questions;
Do you compulsively faff with your Blackberry, iPhone or android, constantly responding to emails or compulsively checking to see what’s going on with Facebook?
Have you found yourself driving or taking the tube, arriving at your destination with no recollection of how you got there?
Do you frequently realise that your mind has wandered off during a conversation with a colleague or a loved one and you have no idea what has been said but still nod enthusiastically wondering what happened to those huge chunks of conversation?
Are you increasingly recognising that you ‘zone out’ on a regular basis missing out on huge chunks of your life?
Guilty as charged? If you recognise yourself in these scenarios then you’re probably not practising Mindfulness in your day to day living. We all zone out from time to time to varying degrees, it’s part of who we are as human beings and to some extent we couldn’t live without our autopilot. The downside of flying your life on autopilot is that mindlessness can also become a trap preventing us from truly experiencing and enjoying life. Mindfulness offers us as alternative. And it doesn’t stop at preventing you from zoning out.
Research shows that regular Mindfulness practice for as little as ten minutes a day can improve performance, increase focus, improve neuroplasticity, reduce stress and anxiety as well as increasing overall levels of happiness. For ten minutes a day that’s not a bad return. Want to know more? Here’s Jon Kabat-Zin talking about the benefits of Mindfulness and how life is right now….