Mindfulness or Mind fulness?

Are you out of your mind?

You’ve lost track of how many e-mails are in your inbox, the report deadline is looming, you still need to deal with the snappy team member from the morning meeting and your next conference call starts in 5 minutes.  Your mind starts spinning and you start feeling frazzled.  Sound familiar?

As the tension starts to build, our minds get busy trying to deal with all of the information.  For many people, stress is experienced more in the mind than in the body.  However, as our minds pick up the pace and thoughts start to whiz around, our productivity and efficiency start to drop.  It’s hard to be innovative and creative when our minds are all over the place.  No wonder the business world is abuzz with mindfulness.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, a famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme, says:  “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

Using mindfulness in the workplace is beneficial for both businesses and their employees.  People who practise mindfulness at work report clearer communication, improved teamwork and team relations.  Other reported benefits include:

  • Improved decision making,
  • A better ability to “think out of the box”, enhanced creativity, and
  • Reduced workplace tensions and improved customer service.

Mindfulness can take a long time to learn and a lot of intensive practise before getting results.  However, there is a quick and easy way to bring our awareness to the present moment and stop being caught up in our thoughts.  Focus on your senses and your sensory experience.  Notice your environment – what can you see, hear, smell, taste and touch.  I like to call this ‘sensory mindfulness’.  It offers a simple, practical technique to get you on your way to being more mindful.

Use the following technique as a quick and easy way to get out of your mind and be present in the moment.

  • Pause and take a few slow breathes
  • Look around you – what can see?  Notice the small details
  • Close your eyes – what can you smell?
  • Listen carefully – what can you hear?
  • What can you feel – can you feel 5 or more things against the surface of your body?

Take a little time each day to tune into your senses and get out of your mind.

By Tania Barney, a registered Occupational Therapist with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), UK. Professional qualifications:  B App Sc (OT), M App Sc (Health Sciences), University of South Australia.

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