I, like you perhaps, used to be in the school of thought that I was too busy for meditation. I thought mindfulness, and its cousin meditation, were for folks who were “out there”, practicing some well-meaning but very time consuming, distracting and impractical practice. Boy, was I wrong. Once I was influenced by some successful business people around me, and encouraged to give it a try by my Talk with Tom host Aaron Wilker, I have found a mindfulness and mindful meditation practice to be a very key tool to my daily accomplishments and to manifesting my goals. I soon realized its popularity and that I was actually finally “getting with the program.” Its importance has now grown to a point where it is now part of my ideal morning routine and I am so impressed with my results that I will soon be releasing a 7-day guided mediation audio series FREE for you here on my website.
Of all the ancient and modern practices designed to enlighten us, why has the simple practice of Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation come to the fore-front? Why is Mindfulness taking a strong-hold in healthcare, academia and business? Read further and you will find the answers to those, and other questions you may have about Mindfulness, including:
5 Simple Daily Tips for Mindfulness at Work, How Mindfulness Improves Decision-Making, and Why Richard Branson Recommends Entrepreneurs Practice Mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is living in the moment. Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation began as a Buddhist tradition and is now recognized by psychotherapists as a form of Cognitive Therapy. What makes mindfulness unique from other forms of meditation is that the primary focus of mindfulness is on one’s current physical state. Mindfulness meditation is a seated meditation technique that focuses attention on breathing, bodily sensations and mental relaxation. Refer to my earlier blog post entitled Meditation and the Benefits of Its Daily Practice to learn more about the benefits of meditation.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness increases brain gyrification (folding of brain tissue), which allows the brain to process information more efficiently – providing a better grasp on life’s stressors. Other mental and physical benefits include the following, according to Medical News Today:
Mental benefits of Mindfulness include:
- Fights memory loss
- Helps regulate emotions
- Improves academic performance
- Fights depression
- Fights anxiety
- Fights PTSD
Physical benefits of Mindfulness include:
- Improves sleep
- Aids in weight loss
- Lessens cold and flu effects
- Reduces heart disease risk
- Reduces rheumatoid arthritis
- Fights chronic pain
- Helps irritable bowel syndrome
- Slows HIV progression
5 Reasons to Practice Mindfulness
- Mindfulness is FREE. Not only is mindfulness free, but it is “free-ing.” The practice of mindful meditation is a great way to open your mind and creativity…to get your creative juices flowing and get you thinking outside the box.
- Mindfulness is SIMPLE. You can practice it anywhere without any needed equipment. If you’re breathing, you are able to practice mindful meditation. Simply follow your breath in and out.
- Mindfulness is FLEXIBLE. You can practice mindfulness alone or in a group. It literally makes us more flexible as we observe the present moment and put other concerns and worries in perspective.
- Mindfulness is ORGANIC. Duh! It’s breathing-based, the most basic of living practices.
- Mindfulness is RELAXING. We are usually focused more on “doing” than “being”. Mindfulness helps us relax in the moment and restore us to a state of centeredness.
How Mindfulness Improves Our Decision-Making
I recently introduced Mindfulness to my real estate business team and to my coaching repertoire. Not only have many of my clients heard of it, but most of those are practicing it. Professional coaches, including NBA Championship coach Phil Jackson and NFL Championship coach Pete Carroll, incorporate mindfulness and meditation in their team practice routines. More and more corporations are offering mindfulness training to their employees and mindfulness techniques are being included in leadership books.
While it’s generally accepted that mindfulness helps decision-makers to reach conclusions, there’s growing evidence the positive influence goes much further, impacting the way decisions are identified, made, implemented and assessed.
Close analysis of the latest mindfulness research by Jochen Reb, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Singapore Management University, for the upcoming book Mindfulness in Organizations, suggests that mindfulness techniques can have a positive effect on all the widely-recognized stages of decision-making.
The Stages of Decision-Making and Mindfulness
- Framing the decision – clarifying the objectives, generating options, avoiding irrational escalation of commitment to a previous bad decision, as well as recognizing different choices to be made. This ties mindfulness and authenticity.
- Gathering information – once the decision is identified, the decision-maker must start gathering relevant information to make the right choice. The two important aspects of mindfulness to this stage are the quantity and quality of information being collected.
- Coming to a conclusion – when choosing a course of action, good judgment requires both intuition and systematic analysis. sometimes these differ, and that is when many decision-makers get stuck. Mindfulness can help the individual examine and quantify these discrepancies. By looking from the 35,000′ level, one can make a more “mindful”, big-picture, decision.
- Learning from feedback – this final decision-making stage is arguably the most important for improving one’s decision making in the long run. When one takes a mindfulness stand, one is encouraged to have a heightened awareness which will likely lead to lessons-learned. Able to disengage from ego aids in making better decisions.
Why Richard Branson Recommends Entrepreneurs Practice Mindfulness
Technology has drastically changed the way we do business. We are always plugged-in, always connected. The Virgin Group founder notes in a recent blog post that where smartphones once were thought to bring positives – giving people more opportunities to meet with others while remaining in touch with the office – soon enough it became clear that technology was encroaching on the rest of our lives. “Pretty soon everyone was blending their work life with their private lives,” Branson says. “Burnout is now a very real threat for many of my 60,000 employees around the world, which is why we’ve taken the step of introducing unlimited holiday [vacation] time and flexible working options at our head offices at Virgin,” Richard says.
And that’s where mindfulness comes in. Branson says that mindfulness is as important as any major technological upgrade. He recommends to take time to unplug and get in touch with your inner-self. Author and Publisher Arianna Huffington and Steve Jobs both have said that mindfulness gave them a competitive edge. If Branson, Huffington and Jobs can do it with their busy schedules, so can you!
Your Action Step for Today
Give mindfulness and mindfulness meditation a try! As I mentioned earlier, I will soon be releasing a FREE 7-day guided meditation audio series, so be looking for that here on my website. In the meantime, there are many apps out there simplifying the meditation process for you. I list these in my aforementioned blog post on the benefits of meditation that you can find here. At the very least do what Dr. Andrew Weil calls 4, 7, 8 Breathing: breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds, all the while observing your breath and going inward.
Please share with the Success Series Community how you integrate mindfulness and mindfulness meditation into your daily routine by leaving a comment below.
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