- Are you spending all your time worrying about the future?
- Do you constantly obsess over events that occurred in the past?
- How much time do you spend living in the present moment?
Mindfulness is a popular technique used by the rich and famous; Angelina Jolie, Kobe Bryant, Emma Watson, Goldie Hawn and Meg Ryan. It is popular as it allows us to live in the present moment rather than focus on the past or the future.
Due to the popularity of this growing trend, late last year the first mindfulness studio MNDFL - Space to breathe opened it's doors in Manhattan, New York. It was founded by Lodro Rinzler, a Buddhist author and meditation teacher and Ellie Burrows a writer and personal development coach.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness relates to our ability to stay focused in the present moment. It involves being fully engaged, aware and present in the task or activity you are doing. Sounds relatively easy, right?
Unfortunately not, the vast majority of us operate on auto-pilot on a daily basis rather than paying attention to what we are doing in the present moment.
Rod Lee from Working Balance is a highly sought after mindfulness instructor for corporate organizations and private individuals with over thirty five years experience in health-care management and education.
Lee explains that mindfulness originates from ancient techniques derived from meditation. It helps sharpen our focus and strengthen our resilience enhancing our ability to respond to a constantly changing environment.
Ask yourself - How often are you one hundred percent mindful?
The Energy Model
The energy model comes from the book titled 'The Decision Book' by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschappeler. Before we can become more mindful, it is important to understand where we focus our energy - the past, the present or the future.
1. Memory-Driven - Past
This group focuses on the past. Spending thirty percent of their energy in both the present moment and the future with the majority of energy directed on the past at forty percent.
2. Dream-Driven - Future
This group focuses on the future. Future focus accounts for sixty five percent with a tiny proportion spent at five percent in the past and thirty percent living in the present.
3. Reality-Driven - Present
This group focuses on the present. The present represents seventy percent, followed by twenty percent focus on the future and ten percent recalling the past.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Ellen Langer, is a Professor of Psychology from Harvard University and one of the world's leading experts on mindfulness.
Langer states: "At the high levels of any field - Fortune 50 CEO's, impressive artists and musicians, the best teachers and mechanics - you'll find mindful people because that's the only way they get there".
The benefits are impressive for entrepreneurs and business owners:
- Reduced levels of stress
- Unlocks creativity
- Boosts performance and productivity
- Increased clarity
- Less judgmental thoughts
- Enhances your level of charisma
- Effective emotional management
Lee says to start the practice of mindfulness you can use your trip to work on public transport. At every stop, take a gentle breathe in and out. Alternatively, if you feel agitated, when driving your car, take a moment to breathe in and out.
Taking time to breathe more slowly and deeply induces feelings of calm with the feelings of agitation reducing or ceasing completely.
Lee suggests that it all starts with a simple exercise for between fifteen to twenty minutes daily.
- Start by finding a quiet space
- Sit comfortably with your back straight and feet on the floor or you may feel more comfortable with your legs crossed sitting on the ground
- Close your eyes and allow your mind and body to relax
- Allow your mind to focus on your breathe
- Take a deep breathe slowly in and out
- Keep your focus on your breathe
- When you mind wanders, continue to bring your attention back to your breathe
- Slowly open your eyes after fifteen to twenty minutes and take a moment before standing up
With dedicated daily practice, it becomes easier and faster to become mindful and create a sense of calm.
If mindfulness is a challenge for you; attend a tai chi or yoga class. These classes work in a similar way by keeping us in the present moment. When you have mastered those classes, attempt mindfulness once again and see what results you can achieve.
As Langer suggests: "A lack of mindfulness robs everyone of the opportunity to see potential paths to success".