Every individual is grappling with short attention span these days. The increase in the number of distractions and the information overload results in a distracted and fuzzy state of mind. In a world, where we are expected to deliver work and deadlines due for yesterday, what really works is a mindful approach than just a mind full of s**t.
It was August last year, when I authentically started my fitness journey (I say authentically, because before that I was either just following crash diets or being a part of a fad fitness phase). During this fitness journey, I got introduced to yoga, which did more good to my mind and body, in less amount of time. The most important thing yoga taught me was how to be mindful i.e. to be present in the moment – while being active, focused and attentive of the environment without any judgement. I’m not saying that yoga is THE method to seek your mindful self, rather I am saying that it was a moment of revelation for me and more of personal existential experience! It could be the case with you as well, or may not be.
Being mindful about people and your surroundings can do you more good than you can imagine. It is a skill that can be honed upon to get the better of you either at work or at home. It is about reaching a place of self-reflection and awareness of objects and people around you. It is about staying focused at any given moment to get the best out of that moment.
Mindfulness is a conscious and active awareness of yourself and your surroundings, to live the holistic personal or professional life you want. There are 3 ways by which you can adopt mindfulness in your life:
- Dedicate your entire self to be present in the moment: convince your mind to be fully present in the single moment that you are scheduled to be living. So, if you are in a conversation with a friend, be completely present in that moment, and listen to her/him actively, while being aware of the situation genuinely. If you are in a meeting, don’t keep looking at the time, every few minutes (if you may be bored or you might have another appointment) rather be present in the moment and own the space, so that you energize the conversation, when needed.
- Don’t try hard to control your thoughts: Your mind will constantly be chat with you because it has no other friend to go to. You can certainly choose to listen to your thoughts and go back to the thought war zone. However, do it at a scheduled time. Do it when you are either cooling off, after a long day or starting afresh and anew the next morning. “You are not your mind” is something we often hear and it is true. Focus on the stimulus you receive from the environment, whether it is touch of the wind, a presentation from your colleague, or conversation of a friend. Focus on the stimulus without judging it and observing it externally. You can choose to get lost in your thoughts or ignore them, so that you can focus on the moment and live it!
- Don’t worry about your past or your future: this is one thing that I learned through Bhagvad Gita, that change is the only thing that is constant, so why must we worry about what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. Of course, it is a more of a philosophical concept mentioned in Gita ka Saar, however, it has truer meaning when it comes mindfulness. Think about this, you might have a lot of work at hand but you are constantly conflicted by thoughts regarding things that you need to submit, or stuff that had been due for yesterday, it would not yield any productive results if thoughts weren’t made into reality. In fact, it would leave you more anxious and stressed to not be able to own the moment and get the work done! Mindfulness can thereby help you focus on the moment without worrying about the past or the future.
I would iterate that mindfulness was a revelation that came to me while I was practicing yoga, but that doesn’t mean that you need to do the same. While mindfulness can be something that just hits you one day, it can also be honed through practice as mentioned above.
Practice this: You can truly bring the best in your personal life and professional life by being mindful of yourself and others around you. Start by perceiving things from a third eye (or third person’s point of view). Each time you find yourself in a situation where you believe you aren’t fully present in the moment or are disturbed and distracted by your thoughts… reflect within, take a deep breath and count till ten. Then think, is it something that I really need to worry about NOW? If yes, get it out of your system by giving it closure. If not, then put that thought aside and focus on the moment as it is passing by, because it won’t come back. I promise you, you will see the difference.
If you got value out of this post then do share it with your friends or those who you think might benefit from it.
If you want to delve deeper into the concept of mindfulness, I’m putting together insight in my newsletter, so you might want to sign up for it. If you want to know how we can use mindfulness in training or at work, get in touch here.