Apparently, meditation and mindfulness are becoming the ‘in thing’ in the corporate world, with companies such as Google, Ebay and, somewhat ironically GlaxoSmithKline, all providing meditation opportunities to their staff. As I wrote earlier in the month, the stars are at it too – the most recent example being ‘Amazing Spiderman 2’ star Emma Stone.
Nothing new here, of course – Transcendental meditation (TM) rose to fame when The Beatles discovered it, after travelling to India. Fact is, meditation has been around a while, and ‘mindfulness’ is just its latest name.
But it’s not just for relaxation, and it has day-to-day benefits, even if you’re not at all interested in the spiritual aspect of practice. It can boost your productivity too.
Mindfulness is really a simple concept – cut out distractions (calm the ‘monkey mind’ as the Chinese say), reduce intrusive or irrelevant thoughts, and focus your attention on one thing only: The here and now.
What this does is frees up the entire power of your mind and brings it to bear on your current situation in this exact situation, not thinking of the future, not ruminating about the past, not drifting off to somewhere else. Right here, right now.
As well as turning off ‘fight or flight’ mode, relaxing you, lowering your blood pressure, reducing the experience of pain, and a host of other benefits, this also does wonders for your productivity.
I’m often asked how I get so much done, and there are a number of answers to that question… I look after myself, eat well and practice various Yang Sheng arts to boost my energy levels. But probably more than that, I have learned and practiced the fine art of FOCUS.
Imagine how much more you could get done if you could focus entirely on what you’re doing without distractions, bringing the full power of your mind to bear on the task in hand. Suddenly, you’re more productive and more efficient. You make fewer mistakes, have better accuracy, and work much faster. As a recent study shows, you also make better decisions.
So… how can I put it? If you value your physical health, take up meditation, if you value your mental health, take up meditation, and if you want to be more productive and make better use of your time…. well, take up meditation!
Simple steps to meditation:
- Find a place where you won’t be disturbed, and do your best to minimise distractions (turn off the phone, etc)
- Adopt any comfortable position, for instance sitting comfortably or lying down
- Take a short while to relax your body
- Focus your attention on your breathing. Breath naturally, and become as aware as you can of the sensation of breathing. Notice your lungs moving in and out, and the feeling of air passing through your nose.
- Whenever your mind wanders, calmly return your focus to your breathing. Have a passive, non-judgmental attitude.
- Continue in this way for as long as you choose
- Practice for just a few minutes, every day
It’s never too late to start, so give it a try, and you’ll soon begin to notice the difference.
If you want to learn more, I recommend the book ‘Mindfulness’ by Prof Mark Williams
Or for more personal advice and guidance you might want to learn more about my Radiant Helath Coaching