There is a plethora of research about how practicing mindfulness can strengthen our performance and enhance our wellbeing. Mindfulness can also help to reduce the impact of stress, improve sleep, and enhance our mental capabilities. The results are essential for those who are constantly fighting to meet tight deadlines or working in high-stress environments.
Mindfulness is a simple concept. It’s about giving your undivided attention to what’s happening right now, exactly what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through at that particular moment in time. It might seem trivial, even obvious, but most of us are not fully present – we allow our minds to wander, to become enmeshed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or worrying about the future. It makes us anxious.
When we’re mindful, we gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind. It allows us to release stress and and increase our attention on the wellbeing of others.
Formal meditation practices revitalise and recharge the mind, but many of us feel there is simply not enough time to do this properly every day.
So, how can you integrate mindfulness into your busy agenda?
Well, five minutes a day is all it takes!
Mindfulness is all about self-awareness. You can incorporate this mindset into your daily routine, creating more mindful moments of your own. Here are four small mindfulness exercises that you could easily start doing today:
- Breathe consciously
Take a slow deep breath and hold it for a few seconds. Focus your attention on your body and notice how your chest moves when you breathe. Exhale fully, and be conscious of the changes in your body when you do so. Repeat this at least five times. Do you feel better?
- Scan your body
Be seated in a comfortable position. Breathe deeply. Keep your back upright and your hands relaxed and then slowly relax your muscles around your neck, shoulders, hips, and feet. Notice how your clothes touch your skin. You could do this while you are waiting for a meeting to start, when you’re sitting on the bus, or each time you sit back at your desk. Are you feeling calmer?
- Mindful eating
Pay attention when you take your first bite of your meal. Try to notice the appearance, texture, taste, and the smell of your food. Don’t rush. Enjoy the sensation of eating. Do you feel stronger?
- Mindful and effective communication
Effective communication is a two-way process. It is less about talking and more about listening, as well as receiving non-verbal information. When you’re engaging in a conversation, pay attention the other person’s tone, talking speed, facial expression and body language. Did you hear more?
There’re no standard way to develop mindfulness, so be creative and adventurous in exploring what works best for you!