Whether you are a professional, a student or a stay at home parent, the pace of life today, our connection to technology and the constant state of change in the world can make you feel like you are constantly rushing from one deadline to the next. There’s an endless push to stay on top of your to-do list, answer emails, stay connected on social media, be a good worker, a good parent, a good spouse, a good friend… the list goes on!
Sadly for some of us this pushing and rushing, not to mention our sometimes continual stream of self-criticism, endless planning, and worrying in our heads, can start to drown out any moments of success, happiness and enjoyment in our lives.
The good news is that training in mindfulness techniques has been proven to create new pathways in the brain that increase our ability to be more focused and less frantic, more positive and productive, and less stressed.
Mindfulness simply means having moment-to-moment awareness of what is going on in our heads, and what is going on around us. We are paying attention “on purpose” to what is right here, right now, without getting carried away replaying the past, planning what we are doing next, or in worrying too much about things.
Although its a bit of a buzzword at the moment, mindfulness has been researched scientifically for over 35 years. It's been proven to reduce stress, depression, pain, fatigue, high blood pressure, sleep problems and anxiety.
How can mindfulness help me manage what is going on in my head?
Mindfulness training has a range of great benefits, as you become more mindful over time you will notice:
● Your attention increases. Your mind will wander less and you will be able to focus for longer periods of time. You will get more done, and be more tuned in during conversations and meetings.
● You are much more aware of what’s going on around you, and what's happening in your head. You won’t get carried away so much by unhelpful thoughts, and will become much more aware of what other people might be feeling.
● You act differently. When the pressure is on, you will find yourself getting less stressed, and more able to handle what's happening around you. If you are managing stress better, you will notice you are healthier and enjoy work more.
By Debbie Schultz