Description: In this episode, Melissa and Maribeth (from ADD Professionals) discuss how mindfulness can improve your performance.
Today we are going to talk about mindfulness. This is an ancient practice that has, in recent years been found to be extremely effective in dealing with mood regulation and focus.
Stated simply, mindfulness is choosing to shut out worries about the past or the future and "BE" in the present - the only place we can control our performance. It is choosing to live and work in the here and now.
You know, many of us spend a large amount of time, every day, thinking about the past – which we cannot change – or thinking about the future – over which we have little control. Both of those thoughts take us away from the present – over which we have GREAT control.
While learning from the past and planning the future are both necessary, they probably don’t take as much time as we give them. The point of mindfulness is that we would be better served spending more time in the present, being aware of it and acting intentionally in it.
In mindfulness, you become aware of and accept the world, others and your own feelings just as they are, right now. There is great peace and self control in "NOW"! In addition, when we are very aware of what truly is real, right now, and we are not pulled away by thoughts of the past or future, we make better decisions and are more effective in the present.
Here are a few mindfulness techniques that you could use to bring yourself into the present more often.
- R: Realize what emotion you are having. "I am feeling lonely."
- A: Allow it to be just a feeling or a thought, not reality. "This is what lonely feels like."
- I: Investigate why it is there – what caused it? "I have to stay late to work alone."
- N: Non-identify that it is reality. It is just a feeling, a passing mind state, like a movie. It is not who you are right now. "I am just feeling lonely. I'm not lonely. I have lots of friends. This feeling will pass."
- S: Stop.
- T: Take a breath.
- O: Observe the thought or feeling you are having.
- P: Proceed away from that thought or feeling and replace it with what you can do right now.
Close your eyes and just be aware of your body – its posture, the feeling under your feet, its tenseness or relaxation, your breathing, the beating of your heart, the feeling of whatever your hands are touching.
Stop and just look at the things around you - the grain of the wood of your desk, the leaves of a plant, the color and texture of your clothing.
Stop, close your eyes and listen to all of the sounds around you – the loud ones and the quiet ones underneath. How many different ones can you hear?
The point of these exercises is to help you not be carried away by the overwhelming emotions that can be created by simple thoughts and feelings about the past and future, in our brains. It is an awareness that focusing on what is real – right now - is the only way to control your performance.
Thoughts and feelings are just thoughts and feelings. They do affect our bodies, but they are not reality. Be mindful of what IS real. It will help you stay in the present, where you can truly change your life