11 May Mindfulness: Success is in the Present
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is mindfulness. A lot of people think mindfulness is all about sitting cross-legged and meditating, and they don’t really feel it’s for them. But in simple terms, mindfulness is about focusing on the present and not going over past events or worrying about the future. You can do it anytime and anywhere – waiting at the bus stop, cooking dinner, walking in the park, at your desk. You don’t have to sit on the floor, you don’t have to close your eyes and you don’t have to chant – unless of course you want to!
The positive benefits of mindfulness
Mindfulness has a lot of positive benefits. Research has shown that it can help stress and anxiety as well as improve sleep. And in work studies, mindfulness has been found to improve concentration levels, including multi-tasking and memory tasks. It’s so powerful that Google employs a head of mindfulness training to help its staff find inner calm.
The business women I coach may not be part of a huge global organisation like Google, but mindfulness can certainly help them in their professional and personal life – which is why I incorporate mindfulness into my coaching sessions. If you suffer from stress or anxiety, I can teach you mindfulness techniques to help you to change your body’s negative physiological response to a more positive one. When you’re stressed, you may experience a tight chest and shallow breathing, so I’ll guide you to bring awareness to the breath filling your lungs and stomach and to easing your chest.
Re-framing your mindset
Sometimes mindfulness is about re-framing how you feel about a certain situation. We’ve all suffered from nervous butterflies in the stomach when we’ve been about to do something scary, like presenting a proposal or giving a speech to a room full of people. With mindfulness, you can learn to read those butterflies as excitement and adrenaline, the sort of positive feelings that can help you give a great performance. Instead of facing an event believing you’ll mess up or fail, you can engage your brain to connect with a confident, can-do attitude.
Keeping your mind focused on the present can be particularly helpful if you run your own business. There’s so much to think about and do – especially if you’re starting up a new business – it might feel impossible to stop your brain being crowded with unhelpful thoughts: why did I do that?; I think I messed up; I’m so angry that happened; what if this all goes wrong?; how will I cope? What with giving yourself a hard time about things that have already happened and worrying about what’s yet to come, it’s no wonder you can’t concentrate on the here and now. That’s where mindfulness comes in. It’s all about helping you stay in the present, so you can concentrate your mind on one task at a time and stay focused on the steps you need to move forward. When you only have ‘now’ to think about, you’ll feel so much calmer – giving you chance to get clarity and to feel more confident.
If you’d like to find out how mindfulness can help you please get in touch.