Work Smarter: 4 Steps to Starting a Mindfulness Practice

by | Jul 12, 2017

Only yogis and people that have lots of spare time practice mindfulness, right? They have hours to spare, so choose to do it sitting cross-legged, chanting in a contemplative state. Well, this isn’t what it is all about. Mindfulness is a life tool, not an escape, but a practical way to manage ourselves in a more resourceful and sustainable manner. Peak performers in all walks of life are using mindfulness to enhance their results, from professional footballers, ballet dancers to CEOs and executive teams – there has just got to be something in it!

What is it?

I like how Jon Kabat –Zinn, the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine describes it:

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”

Seeing mindfulness as a tool to help me with my working day really changed my perspective on it. Coupled with the fact that I do not have to go anywhere special to use it, it’s free and has the potential to improve health, performance, relationships and quality of life all in one daily practice – it’s a no-brainer! The science stacks up too, check out some of the research summarized here.

Let’s do it.

 4 Steps to Starting a Mindfulness Practice

Just start. 

Just sit and relax in a comfortable position and start. The breath is a great way to enable mindfulness. Start with this simple breath exercise, close your eyes, breath in through the nose for a count of 5 and breathe out for a count of 7 through the mouth. Repeat 10 times! There you go, you’ve started.

A wandering mind is ok. 

You are not doing it wrong if your mind is active, just notice the mind has wandered and bring it back, no judgement, no fails, no drama. Let it go! There isn’t really a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way, just ‘your’ way, which is better than no way.

You do have time.

All it takes is a few minutes a day. That’s it. In just a week you’ll start to feel the benefits. Increase the time gradually, build it up and go with the flow. Tip: start small.

Stick with it.

There are lots of different types of mindfulness approaches, choose the one that works for you. If you need a little more guidance check out the Mindfulness project’s online test, it takes 5 minutes to complete and gives you personalized recommended approaches!

I love the way that Ellen DeGeneres describes her practice, she likens it to her computer:

‘Sometimes, when it goes crazy, you just have to shut it down and, when you turn it back on, it’s OK again.’

STOP, shut it down, reboot and refresh the programme! As a result, we may just notice more, achieve more and be a lot more ourselves. Moving from a human-doing back to a human-being! Enjoy.

New Book Coming Soon!

'Work Fuel' is co-written by Colette Heneghan, Optimum Living and Graham Allcott, the original productivity Ninja due to be released March 2019

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