Mindfulness means living in the present moment. It means being (intentionally) more aware and awake to each moment and being fully engaged in what is happening in one’s surroundings – with acceptance and without judgment. I recently took a “test” to discover my level of mindfulness; I didn’t do so well. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Like most leaders, I find myself constantly attempting to multi-task throughout the day. I go from meeting to meeting and deal with many different issues and people throughout my day.
So, I looked for some resources to help me become more mindful. I found an app called Mindfulness Coach that has some good information in it. So, I downloaded the app, and I am going to try practicing mindfulness.
Who wouldn’t want to experience all these great benefits of becoming more mindful?
- Decreases the impact of stress
- Improves one’s ability to deal with negative thoughts and emotions
- Increases concentration and ability to focus
- Improves capacity to relax
- Improves life balance
- Increases self-knowledge and awareness of yourself and others
- Helps one better appreciate the “little things”
- Improves sleep
- Improves brain and immune functioning
- Decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Increase overall quality of life
Dr. Carol Kauffman, recognized by Thinkers50 as one of the Most Influential Coaches in the World, says you should ask yourself one question repeatedly throughout the day, “Am I being the person who I want to be right now?”
In a recent article on ChiefExecutive.net they quoted Margo Georgiadis, CEO of Ancestry: “While this may be the least important meeting of the week for me, it may be the most important for them.” This is so important to keep in mind. What might be a low priority for you, might be a top priority for someone else trying to achieve a goal or reach a project deadline. It’s important to give that person your full attention.
Ask yourself this question during personal interactions as well. Are you on your phone at the dinner table? While at a restaurant? While your son or daughter is talking to you. Mindfulness is also important in your personal life.
Linda Olejniczak recently wrote an EPTW article on mindfulness that gives some great tips on practicing mindfulness:
- Be Present – Be aware. When you find your mind wandering bring your attention back to the task at hand.
- Practice Mindfulness Exercises – Even one minute of consciously connecting with one of your senses can be classified as a mindful exercise. Hitting reset will rebalance your nervous system and decrease impulsive decision making.
- Be a Single Tasker – Nobody can multi-task. You may feel more productive but, you are not. Turn off notifications, clear your workspace, and focus on one task at a time.
- Adopt a Growth Mindset - Mindfulness is about giving attention to the present moment and being open to new possibilities.
I encourage mindfulness with all ASE employees. When we conduct meetings, it’s expected to keep phones put away and computers closed. At some higher level, strategic meetings we ask that no computers or phones are present. This encourages everyone to be mindful (and respectful) and leads to a more productive, interactive meeting.
If I have too much going on, I’d rather reschedule a meeting than not give the group or the person the attention they deserve.
How mindful are you? To take the test I took, download Mindfulness Coach from the Apple Store or Google Play. You’ll rate yourself on statements such as:
- I pay attention to physical experiences, such as the wind in my hair or the sun on my face.
- Generally, I pay attention to sounds, such as clocks ticking, birds chirping or cars passing.
- I notice the smell or aroma of things.
- I notice visual elements in art or nature, such as colors, shapes, textures, or patterns of light or shadow.
- I find it difficult to stay focused on what’s happening in the present moment.
- It seems I am running on automatic without much awareness of what I am doing.
Let me know how you practice mindfulness in your day-to-day interactions. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.