Be fully in the moment!
By Karin Eldor
Monster Contributing Writer
While 2013 may have been the year of the “selfie,” 2014 is definitely the year of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is also known as a form of meditation – something power players like Steve Jobs, Oprah, Arianna Huffington and Russell Simmons have attributed as one of the secrets to their success. It can best be described as both a practice and a state of mind. You can think of mindfulness as simply being fully in the moment: It’s about being tuned in, being aware of the present moment, and more aware of each experience.
So how can this benefit you in your career? “Ommm” let us count the ways…
1) Increases your ability to focus
We’ve long heard about the body & mind benefits of yoga and exercise. Well, meditation is no different. By learning to focus on the current task at hand, you eliminate distractions and the associated urge to multi-task, which can come along with letting your thoughts snowball. It’s a great way to train your mind to breathe, focus, and eliminate any outside stressors.
How to apply this: Unplug
According to a January 2014 Huffington Post article, many Silicon Valley companies are jumping aboard the trend by eliminating technology when possible. Imagine how much more attentive you would be in meetings without your phone or tablet buzzing and blinking away? Keeping technology out of meetings is a great way to channel everyone’s focus.
2) Allows you to see different angles and perspectives
Mindfulness embraces the ability to continually receive new information, allowing you to be open to the perspective of coworkers – something that comes in handy in most interactions at work, and even while interviewing for a job . By allowing you to constantly receive new social cues, for example, it prevents you from being literally stuck in your ways and leads to a more dynamic perspective in your day-to-day. Mindfulness can also heighten your sense of empathy, a key trait that is one of today’s coveted leadership skills. It becomes about “we” rather than “me and you.”
According to mentalhealth.org.uk, “mindfulness teaches you to be aware of your own negative thoughts and judgments and to let go of them, open yourself to new feelings, positive ones.”
How to apply this: Focus on raising your emotional intelligence
Meditation isn’t only about a mantra. It’s also about emotional intelligence – also known as EQ -- a common concept in leadership training. People with high emotional intelligence tend to be more compassionate, a factor that’s important in today’s workforce – far from the days of dictator-like managerial styles. Pick up some books about raising your EQ and watch your personal and professional relationships improve. Many companies today are getting on board by offering employees EQ training. Google, for example, offers a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence training program called Search Inside Yourself.
3) Reduces stress
We all know that feeling when our thoughts start to snowball throughout the day – all your tasks, unfinished projects, and “what ifs” pile up, causing you to feel overwhelmed. The worst part is: we don’t even realize it! Mindfulness allows you to check in with yourself throughout the day, which in turn prevents the feeling of always being “on” and needing to think about next steps. It also helps you focus more on process over outcome – so rather than getting anxious about a presentation you have to give at work, focus on mastering the topic you’re speaking about.
How to apply this: Set reminders
Set a reminder for yourself on your phone (with bells, for example) to chime in every few hours, for example. This way, an alarm reminds you to take a mental break. It might even be catching you on a downward stress spiral where you’re thinking about everything you need to get done – and stop you in your tracks by reminding you to be present and take note of what’s happening in your body and mind. In other words, take a mindfulness break.
Easy ways to get on the mindfulness bandwagon
- Search for easy meditative routines: there’s a multitude of resources online, outlining quick and easy ways to practice meditation at your desk or while out for a walk on your lunch break.
- Download an app: that’s right, there’s an app for that. A popular one is called HeadSpace, allowing users to follow along as an instructor takes them through 10-minute meditation routines.
- Take a workshop: There could be workshops in your area and there’s a multitude of them online.
- Read a book: Mindfulness has gone beyond a niche, New Age practice – even entrepreneurs like hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons have published books about the topic.
Being present is a gift
Mindfulness is not just having a moment – it's all about how “being in the moment” can change your outlook on your personal and professional life.
By reducing stress, increasing focus, and developing the ability to see others’ point of view – all benefits of mindfulness -- you will be better equipped to make decisions at work, increase efficiency, and feel happier about your day-to-day. Sign me up!