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November2014

To be mindful – or not to be?

Mindfulness – are you up with it, starting it, or simply lost in it? Words, like so many things in this fast moving world we live, work and play in, come and go so fast. So what’s trending right now? At the time of writing this article it was ‘mindfulness’ but by the time I’m finished I’m sure it will have changed.

It seems to me that ‘mindfulness’ is the new kid on the block, companies and individuals alike knowing that this word will increase bottom lines, assist in moving forward, then at the end of the day here will be yet another word that will excite us into chasing success just like all the other ‘trending’ words that have come and gone – many of us not catching on to them until it is too late.

Then we are left with a feeling of did I miss out on something? Could I have been more successful if I’d only heard of these words sooner? What would my bottom line look like now? How far could I have travelled? At the end of the day, the reality is that we are where we are because of the work we have put in or not. A word will not change the outcome.

However, putting that word into action will have a huge bearing on the outcome. Now we ask ourselves – what can practicing mindfulness do for us in our busy lives?

Historically, men would spend their days doing what they did, mindfully.

If they were taking the opportunity to sit quietly and think, or plan some new and exciting venture, it was done with full mind attention. If they were completing a task, it was completed mindfully, without error or distraction, executing it on time and without stress. In today’s world though, we wear business like a badge of honour, rushing from one thing to the next not stopping to enjoy what it is we are doing, right here and now, in the moment. There is almost an unspoken competition to see who is the busiest, and the most stressed, announcing with almost a deep excitement that “I have to take the children to school, be at work on time, but this traffic is so bad I’ll probably be late, and there’ll be no one to cover my workload, I’ll have to stay late. My job is so stressful. And I haven’t organised anything for dinner tonight – I’ll have to go grocery shopping on my lunch break. But I’ve got a lunch meeting – I’ll have to go after work, before the kids need to be picked up from school and taken to footy training, dance lessons and singing. And then to help them with homework. There are not enough hours in the day!”

Just think how life could be so different if only one took the time each morning as we wake up, just to be pleased that we have woken up and the day awaits us like a sheet of white paper for us to write on every day, then fold it away at night when we go to bed. The white paper is ours to write whatever we please; it can be filled with stress and negative words, or it can be filled with thanks, joy, pleasure and fulfilment.

By just getting out of bed even half an hour earlier, we have time to plan the day, be mindful of the jobs at hand, slow down and enjoy the morning’s activities such as eating breakfast. I have never heard of anyone dying from sleep-deprivation by rising in the morning by just half an hour.

Here are a few tips for introducing mindfulness into your life:

  • Run a diary. Each weekend sit down and schedule in the week’s meals, shopping, the children’s activities and any extra things you need to do.
  • Always remember that ‘no’ is a perfectly acceptable answer – we do not have to accept and attend every invitation offered to us.
  • Children do not need to attend several sports or activities a week and they don’t need to have a play-date or sleep-over every other week. Children too, like to have down time, time to think, time to readjust their minds and be mindful. Children do this much better than we give them credit for and they do it much better than adults. They only act the way they see the adults around them acting.

Let’s be mindful of each and every job we do; do it with love, joy, and acceptance. Slow down and enjoy each minute of our day as we focus on the task at hand. Do you want to look back on your life in 50 years and think “oh, have I done that? did I actually do that? I can’t really remember that amazing overseas trip, or my daughter’s graduation, or my son’s birthday. Maybe if I had stopped rushing around I would remember a better life..”

Slow down, be mindful, keep focused on your journey and enjoy it, as you may not like the destination.

For more information on how you can introduce the art of mindfulness and its benefits to your workplace, contact WorkPlace-EZ today!

 

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