This blog is the first part of a mindfulness blogging trilogy, with each three blogs targeting an area of mindfulness that we want you to know about. Here we are discussing why you should care about it, next up we will be talking about what it is and the research and science behind it, before finishing up with easy actions you can take to introduce mindfulness into your day-to-day.
Watch Natasha introduce our mindfulness trilogy below!
There’s a lot of information out there these days and a lot of people wanting to sell you quick fixes for potentially long-term problems. The pressures of daily life can mean we feel stressed, anxious, time-poor, and overwhelmed. It seems like there’s no solution. You don’t have the time or energy to put into practice all the good things you’re told will make your life easier. The good news is that there’s one improvement you can make to your life which is scientifically proven to help you feel calmer, happier, more grateful, and more able to face life’s challenges. It’s called mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Okay, wait! I know, you’ve heard about mindfulness before, maybe you know what it is, or maybe you don’t know and you don’t care. You might think it’s all about meditation, which you don’t want to try or you’ve found too difficult in the past, or maybe it sounds a bit too fluffy for your tastes. Mindfulness is actually very simple. It is purely about noticing where your focus is, and keeping your mind on the present, being fully attentive to what is happening right now.
The Challenges of Modern Life
Life these days is busier, faster paced, and has more distractions than ever, with even more demands on our attention. Our phones are in our hands or pockets the vast majority of the time and we sit in front of many screens. You probably regularly hear beeps and dings, or at least feel or hear the vibrations, of text messages, instant messages, emails, all notifications all the time. Which is great for us to feel effective and efficient – to be instantly contactable, to have as much information as we need right at our fingertips. It doesn’t help our focus though, believe it or not. Even worse, it gets addictive. How many times have you sat in front of the TV to watch a show or movie and ended up mindlessly scrolling through your phone instead of paying attention? Likely your phone is next to your bed, one of the last things you look at before you go to sleep and one of the first things you look at when you wake up.
It does give you information, though. In addition to all the (sometimes contradictory) information on Google, you get information about what other people are up to, how successful or healthy they are, how great they’re doing or their kids are doing, the book they found time to read that was absolutely life-changing. Not to mention all the things you “should” be doing to be the best, most healthy and successful version of yourself. (Get up early! Write in a journal! Do an hour’s workout! Followed by yoga stretching! Shower and exfoliate! Cook a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Drink a green smoothie! Do self care! Somehow manage to work and look after family too!)
It’s not really just about our phones, though – that’s a symptom of a bigger problem. We compare, we overthink, we judge, we worry, we agonise over ‘what if’, ‘if only’, ‘I wish’, ‘remember’ and ‘I wonder what will happen if/when…’. The phones just help with that.
It's a lot, right?
It can feel like a simple to-do list or even that brand new app that promises to fix your whole life just doesn’t cut it.
Mindfulness is, essentially, the antidote to all of that.
How Mindfulness Can Help You Thrive in The Modern World
Just earlier in this blog was the claim that mindfulness is ‘scientifically proven’. I bet you’ve heard that a lot about all kinds of things, but science has proven time and time again that the practice of mindfulness helps you: get to sleep more easily; sleep better; feel less stressed; recover from stress more quickly; have better relationships; spend less time overthinking and ruminating; be less negative in your thoughts and behaviours… to name just a few!
Those times when you can’t sleep because you’re ruminating over something that’s already happened, worrying about something that hasn’t yet happened, or just letting your brain run away with listing all the things you have to do, mindfulness can help calm those thoughts. The times when you feel an immediate, overpowering sense of frustration or anger because someone cut you up in traffic or broke something in the kitchen and you react in a way that you later regret, mindfulness helps reduce those responses so you can react more rationally. The way you sometimes make yourself feel bad because other people are achieving, earning, or creating things in a way you can’t or aren’t right now? Mindfulness can help you let that go and feel happier and more content.
So as not to overdo it, we’ll cease extolling the virtues of mindfulness for now. In the next blog, you’ll hear about what mindfulness really is, so you can start to see just how and why it can help you in your day-to-day life.
Natasha, Alex & The Excel Team
P.S. If you would like to discuss any of your learning & development challenges for 2023, call us on +44(0) 1628488 854.
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