In a world dominated by technology and filled with stimuli, mindfulness and awareness are becoming a salvation and a way of life. And mindfulness is the way to achieve them.
Mindfulness, often referred to as fitness for the mind, is the science and art of managing attention, managing stress, and practicing mindfulness and concentration. The approach is based on centuries of practical experience of meditation and contemporary neuroscience data. Mindfulness counters the trends that have dominated culture in recent decades. People tired of information noise and technology are turning to mindfulness practices to free themselves from the influence of uncontrollable impulses and focus on the present moment. This is also important for professional success and efficiency at work, including remote work. Thanks to these simple exercises you will focus your attention and concentrate fully on the here and now.
Solve tasks one by one
Often you try to do many things at the same time and end up not getting the desired results. Instead, learn to focus on one task at a time. To get started, you can master the Pomodoro technique in a very simplified form:
- Set your alarm for 25 minutes and focus on one task. This counts as one pomodoro, after which you are allowed a five-minute break.
- After resting, start another pomodoro and focus on the same task as before (if you haven’t completed it) or move on to the next one.
- After four pomodoro, take a longer break.
This method will help you gauge how long an activity lasts, as well as measure the effectiveness of your actions while completing tasks.
Observe your surroundings
The following practice is known as mental observation. It requires you to fully focus your attention on an object in your environment for at least 5 minutes to begin with:
- Choose any object.
- Set an alarm for five minutes
- Take the object in your hand and focus on it. Pay attention to how it feels in your hand, its color, texture, shape, and other properties.
This will help you focus on the present moment and organize your thoughts.
Many of us have been in boring and long business meetings. If you are facing such a meeting soon, use it as an opportunity to engage in conversation and discussion. During the presentation, try to listen carefully enough to ask really important questions and make meaningful comments at the end. It’s easy, but not very conscious, to cut off what feels pointless and unnecessary and spend the entire meeting on the phone.
This exercise will be especially useful for those who are still solving work-related problems and tasks at lunchtime. Try to eat lunch at least once a week, putting your phone away and letting your coworkers know that you will be unavailable for that moment. Eat slowly and with focus – this will help you gauge at what point you are full and what food you really enjoy.
The raisin exercise
A popular practice in introductory mindfulness and meditation courses. The task sounds trivial – you need to eat one raisin for 3-5 minutes. If you don’t like raisins, you can take something else. The main purpose of the task is to pretend that you are trying the given thing for the first time in your life and focus on its texture, taste, smell.
If you feel that you are overwhelmed with tasks and you are approaching a moment of crisis, remember about your breathing. Stop and try to focus your attention only on it. Observe any signs of movement of the chest and abdomen, listen to the sound of air inhaled and exhaled. If disturbing thoughts arise in your mind, dismiss them.
“The Five Senses”
Try to stop and consciously “run” the 5 senses as you go through the following points:
- what I see: find those things you didn’t notice before;
- what I feel: describe your internal and external sensations;
- what I hear: try to identify the sounds around you;
- what are the smells: take a deep breath in with your nose and feel your surroundings;
- what are the tastes: what do you feel in your mouth, what have you eaten today and what do you crave.
This exercise can be done in a few minutes to become fully aware of yourself in the moment.
Today, the mindfulness approach is used by professionals in various fields: psychotherapists, doctors, military, trainers, teachers, as well as business people, movie stars and musicians around the world. This practice helps to effectively deal with stress, maintain balance, and be in harmony with yourself and the world around you. It is also able to deeply and comprehensively affect our cognitive functions and mental health.
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