by Frank Scott-Lennon, Wellbeing Champion
At its simplest, mindfulness really involves bringing our attention back from its wanderings to some fixed point. So, instead of allowing our minds wander down a variety of successive paths that present themselves, mindfulness asks us to focus on the present – where we are now and our current activity. It is no more complicated than that, but it is difficult and requires practice.
Why would we try to be mindful?
Mainly because it provides us with the opportunity of a little bit of solitude within our hectic day and our busy world. By pausing amid our myriad thoughts, we can re-focus and re-energise by even the shortest mindfulness exercises. Thus, I hope that I will allow you see several ways in which you can achieve short bursts of mindfulness during your day, rather than feeling that you have to set aside a large block of time to meditate.
Here are some short mindful exercises that can be carried out at work, without the necessity of anyone noticing that you at any particular time are actually being mindful.
Exercise 1 – Changing Gear
It is worth pausing prior to moving from one activity to the other for up to just one minute to reflect on the sheer benefit of being able to multi-task and the benefit that has for us. Just take a minute, holding your attention on that thought for a short period prior to going on to the next task.
•Benefits: Practicing this pause prior to going on to the next task will help clear your mind from the previous and allow better focus for the next task.
Exercise 2 – Heading Into a Meeting
Prior to heading into a meeting, be that one-to-one or a group meeting, it is useful to spend a moment thinking about the process of listening and its importance to understanding the position that others are putting to you. Again, just a few moments, up to a minute, will bring you to the required interval space or preparation space.
•Benefits: Every time that you practice this you will give your listening power a boost, thereby getting yourself into a better frame of mind to listen well and gather all of the data you need for interactions and decisions.
Exercise 3 – New Project
When handed a new project that is somewhat challenging for you, pause and reflect on creativity. That is, the creativity that you want to bring to this new project. Take a minute or two to allow your mind be energised by this creative focus.
•Benefits: This exercise will allow one get a clear idea of the benefits of creativity and how it might help within the project ahead.
Exercise 4 – Problem Solving
Take two or three minutes prior to delving into a particular problem and allow yourself focus on problem-solving and your skills therein. Let your mind wander towards what are the important elements within problem-solving and which should inform your approach to this new situation. Just a minute or two will do.
•Benefits: Many of us jump into problem-solving without fully understanding the steps therein. Pausing in the manner described within this exercise will allow you to commence at the data gathering phase prior to jumping to solutions.
Exercise 5 – Pre-Interview Mindfulness
Prior to job selection interviews, take time to think about when you might have been a candidate yourself, and focus your mind on how apprehensive you might have been and how much you wanted to ensure you got all of the information about you onto the table.
•Benefits: This short reflection will help you better understand the position of the candidate in front of you and ensure that you stay focussed on listening well and gathering as much data as possible about them.
So, while I in no way wish to denigrate longer sessions of meditative mindfulness, I hope that I have demonstrated that you can in fact practice Mindfulness on the Run!