How to succeed with Mindfulness

Mindfulness is attention management in its highest form which allows us to be truly present in the present! Mindfulness involves deliberate awareness of every thought and feeling that occurs in the present moment in an open, accepting and non-judgemental manner.

Intentional Awareness ensures you do not function on autopilot. Deliberate concentration on the present moment allows you to develop superlative focus, superior observation capacity and expands your awareness to facilitate a more effective and accurate use of your intuitive abilities. The neutral attention also prevents the thoughts from distracting you and drawing your energy away.

Mindfulness is NOT meditation. The practice of mindfulness does not always necessitate deep meditation and can be practised at any moment, anywhere. Mindfulness also does not mean you have to “slow down”.Mindfulness is not so much about stopping to smell the roses as about being aware of the rose, being aware of choosing your point of focus (on the rose or elsewhere) and being able to naturally regulate that choice. 

The scientific evidence of the benefits of mindfulness is colossal and below are just some of the reasons why you can’t ignore mindfulness:

·      Most of our reactions are based on incomplete information. Our brain works on a pattern recognition mechanism noticing general markers and filling in the rest based on existing mental frameworks. Mindfulness ensures you are perceptive of the current context and discern the details of present experiences.

·      Neuroscientists have observed through MRIs that mindfulness is associated with an increase in grey matter density in brain regions associated with cognitive “executive” functions such as planning, decision making & judgment as well as those associated with self-awareness, empathy, and love.

·      Neurologists have learned that our minds are designed to wander. Even in a ‘resting’ state, our minds are constantly gathering information. Focus, therefore, takes conscious effort and mastery of attention is a key skill for leaders today.

Practicing mindfulness simply means paying your full attention in the present moment, consciously noticing every detail outside and within you, including your body, your feelings, and your thoughts. A simple way to start practicing mindfulness is a 2-minute breathing exercise that you can do anywhere. Concentrate on your breathing, feel the air entering your nostrils and travel into your body. Notice the smell, temperature, and texture. Notice how your body responds to it, where it expands or contracts, how it absorbs. Do not feel pressured to stop your thoughts or empty your mind. That will create stress and negative noise. Mindfulness is not about silencing unwanted thoughts; it is about regulating how much attention you give to those thoughts. Allow thoughts to pass through your mind and do not resent their presence. Instead, focus your attention and energy on breathing. 

As you master the breathing exercise, slowly try applying the same focussed attention to everything - your food, your conversations, your meetings. Once it becomes a habit, you will naturally notice a lot more than you did, you will function at a higher level of awareness and most of all, you will master your attention. There is a reason why successful organizations such as Google, Intel, McKinsey & Co., P&G, Goldman Sachs, Apple etc. have strongly adopted mindfulness practices.

Author- Ms Shweta Handa Gupta- Founder of QuadraBrain® Transformation Solutions. Shweta works with the CxO and board level as a Transformation Coach, Facilitator and Organization Change Expert. Her work is inspired by her experiences with and study of the human mind and the psychology of leadership and transformation.

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