Mindfulness has become a buzzword in the last couple of years – from corporate giants such as Google and Apple offering their employees courses in the subject, to the British National Health Service prescribing it for patients with anxiety and depression.
So exactly what is the practice? Leading Harvard researcher Dr Ellen Langer explains it as the simple process of actively noticing new things, in the process becoming more aware of the importance of context and perspective in the present moment.
Most mindfulness exercises center around taking notice of how your thought processes arise, and encouraging the mind to not be caught up in the thought processes themselves, but to observe their passage.
Rumination, or repeating a particular disturbing thought, is one of the biggest causes of stress. Our brains get used to a certain pattern of thought, and tend to stay in that pattern unless we actively train them otherwise. Successful people use mindfulness practices to still their minds, which build new neurological networks. This in turn leads to better management of their emotions, outlook, and their responses to adversity and challenges.
Innovation and increased creativity
Successful people who practise mindfulness realise that their mistakes and perceived failures are merely a decision made at a point in time, which can be changed at a later juncture. Instead of framing errors as calamities and being overly obsessive on the slip-ups, they notice the emergence of these thoughts and put them aside, leaving them with the freedom to brainstorm solutions and come up with new approaches to the task.
Mindfulness allows successful people to better understand the individualized context of behavior of the others around them, instead of pigeonholing and judging mindlessly. This leads to more empathy for those they interact with, and an appreciation for the reasons of others’ actions. They like people more, and people like them more. They are more charismatic.
Better performance at work
Those with a certain level of mindfulness experience less hostility both in their general lives and also in the workplace. They are able to concentrate better on their work because they are less distracted by negative thoughts and emotions, are more focused on the present moment, and in turn more productive than those with lesser mindfulness capabilities.
Check out the app Headspace to get started on mindfulness practices today.
With a perfect combination of charismatic beauty, grace and intelligence, Dr Andrea Lim is a firm believer in the values of hard work and dedication. Besides working in her family business, KL Sogo, the medical degree holder is also a partner in her husband’s health and fitness venture, Peak Fitness.
To get in touch with her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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