Mindfulness has proven to bring various benefits to life, including improving the quality of sleep, level of calmness and even becoming a more effective leader. Various companies, including Google, Intel and General Mills, have also introduced mindfulness leadership training, It has without a doubt, become increasingly present in the business and corporate world today.
What exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as ‘a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.‘
On a scientific level mindfulness impacts the brain’s neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain neurons to grow in quantity and form new connections. By repeatedly practicing and engaging in mindfulness training we expose the brain to a new experience, much like learning a new instrument, and make modifications to the neuronal connections and brain structure.
As a beneficiary of mindfulness myself, I now recommend mindfulness meditation to many of my coachees. While it has ultimately proven to be one of the most valuable takeaways of many coaching journeys, most initially struggle with the discipline to make it a consistent part of their daily lives.
These tips might be helpful for those who are looking to start incorporating mindfulness into their lives:
There are plenty of articles or apps that can support your journey. If you are new to meditation, start with The New York Time’s section on How to Meditate. There are also apps like Headspace or Calm that offer guided meditation exercises as well as unguided sessions using music and nature sounds. With experience, you may be able to do it at your will, but use to your benefit what works for you to get the momentum rolling.
Establish a routine
You need to set aside time every day to establish a habit. Practicing mindfulness at a consistent time each day will help it become part of a routine. Aim for the same time every day. If it helps, block out your calendar for 15 minutes at lunch, or set an alarm on your phone. Apps like Headspace offer the ability to set reminders each day at the same time and tracks your progress by keeping track of your streak.
Find your space
Find a set space to meditate that works for you. If you would like to meditate in a more controlled environment, start in the morning at home right after you wake up. If you think you would benefit from reflection at the workplace, find a quiet corner in the office or book a conference room I have even had some coachees sit on the toilet at their office to take some time for themselves. If that works, great! No environment is ever perfect but it’s making the best of it and what works for you.
Remember, there are no right or wrong ways of doing it, and as you progress it becomes your own unique way of meditating. Give it a try, and you may be surprised with the impact it has on your professional and personal life. Return in a week and see if it has changed anything.