If you've ever thought meditation was something that should be reserved for hippies and monks only, you're not alone. Many people think mindfulness is a little too "out there" and doesn't have much place in today's modern world.
Yet, as wonky as it might sound, mindfulness is needed more today than ever before. No other generation has ever faced such temptations for distraction.
Whether you're watching TV and scrolling through social media at the same time, or you're taking a break from a project to respond to emails every two minutes, trying to do too many things at once robs you of joy and decreases your effectiveness.
Being more mindful of each activity is the key to increased productivity. Mindfulness will help you be fully present in the moment so you can perform each task to the best of your ability while fully enjoying the moment.
Mindfulness helps you feel completely alive. Rather than being distracted while playing with your kids--because you're thinking of all the things you should be doing instead--or feeling overwhelmed by your current workload--because you're worried about everything you have to get done--mindfulness helps you do one task at a time.
You'll be able to live each moment to its fullest because you'll be completely awake and present. For many people--especially those skeptical of meditation--gaining more control over your mind could be the secret to a better life.
There's a reason that everyone from athletes to top business leaders are practicing mindfulness--it improves your performance. Rather than regretting what you did yesterday or worrying about what's going to happen tomorrow, mindfulness keeps you focused on what you're doing right now.
Being fully aware of what is going on in the moment without passing judgment, has tremendous physical, social, and psychological benefits. Here are just a few of them:
- Increased mental strength - Multiple research studies shows mindfulness can reduce stress and improve your psychological well-being. By changing the way you respond to painful experiences and stressful events, mindfulness can improve your mood and reduce your risk of mental health problems.·
- Enhanced focus - Studies show practicing mindfulness can improve your attention span. Mindfulness can help you suppress distracting information and help you focus on the task at-hand.
- Decreased emotional reactivity - Practicing mindfulness can reduce the intensity of unpleasant emotional reactions. During one research study, participants who practiced mindfulness showed an improved ability to perform cognitive tasks after viewing upsetting pictures, compared to the control group.
- Increased relationship satisfaction - Mindfulness may improve your relationship satisfaction in several ways. Research shows partners who practice mindfulness experience less conflict, reduced emotional reactivity, improved communication, and overall healthier relationships.
- Better physical health - Studies have linked mindfulness to a multitude of health benefits ranging from reduced chronic pain to lowered blood pressure. Learning how to be present in the moment can even boost your immune system.
Simple Mindfulness Exercise
Mindfulness doesn't have to take up a lot of your time or energy. Just a few minutes of practice each day can offer a lot of benefits.
Although there are a lot of different ways to practice mindfulness, here's a simple exercise:
- Sit up straight (although you can be cross-legged on the floor, it's not necessary).
- Pay attention to your breathing. Focus on the air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth.
- Notice the thoughts that enter your mind. When your mind starts to wander, or you start to criticize your inability to stay focused, gently redirect your attention to your breathing.
Just like any other new skill, mindfulness takes practice. Daily training can help you stay more mindful during your everyday activities. And ultimately, you'll see how much more effective and productive you can be when you're fully present in all of your activities.