Mindfulness. It’s the big buzzword these days, like kale and quinoa. But is mindfulness just a passing fad or a significant shift in consciousness designed to save us from the burnout of our high-tech, 24/7 existence? I believe it’s the latter.
That’s why magazines like Time and Convene, a publication for meeting professionals, are covering it. The Convene article, “In the Moment,” reports, “Some forward-thinking organizations are building mindfulness into meetings and education programs — and their efforts aren’t about creating moments of Zen. Mindful awareness can improve brain function, raise emotional intelligence, and even heighten our ability to absorb and retain information.”
Mindfulness also helps us reduce physical and mental stress, sleep better and avoid illness. The American Psychological Association cites it as a hopeful strategy for alleviating depression, anxiety and even pain.
Time’s special edition, “Mindfulness: The New Science of Health and Happiness,” recommends ways to be more mindful at work. These include:
- Do someone a favor. Spot a need and take a moment to fill it. It could be as simple as getting someone down the hall a fresh cup of coffee.
- Hide your phone and reduce your alerts. Your coworkers and clients crave full attention and your work benefits without the unnecessary distraction of your mobile devices.
- Practice mini-meditations. Even five minutes of intentional deep breathing can have an impact on your health and well-being. Researchers say meditation forms new, permanent neural connections in the brain to help you think and solve problems better. Just like our computers need an occasional reboot, so do our brains.
Mindfulness is about slowing down whenever you can to focus on and appreciate what really matters. My mindfulness practices include taking garden breaks to capture flower photos, slowing down to savor a meal and “catching the gifts” of sincere compliments and special moments.
How do you — or will you — practice mindfulness?