In our increasingly busy modern-day lives, it’s easy to forget to take time for ourselves and allow the mind to become overcrowded and frantic. This can have a negative impact not only on our wellbeing but also our productivity at work. Mindfulness is a technique that encourages you to slow down, be present in the moment, re-connect with your body and notice the world around you more. Mindfulness training can help to alter our brains in the way we engage with ourselves, others, our work and how we react to situations.
When practised and applied, mindfulness can reduce activity in the part of the brain that is responsible for fight or flight and redirect it to the rational pre-frontal cortex. This increases activity that is responsible for executive functioning – the centre of logical thought and impulse control. Relying more on our executive functioning puts us in the driver’s seat of our mind.
Some techniques for being more mindful can include:
- Practising ten minutes of mindfulness training each day – there are apps that you can download to help you with this or books/ websites that can teach you techniques. Most people find the morning, before the busyness begins, the best time to practice mindfulness.
- Avoiding reading and sending emails first thing in the morning or checking social media. Our minds are generally most creative, focused and expansive in the morning. If you check your phone or your email as soon as you get up, then it can affect this.
- Turning off notifications – notifications on phones, laptops etc keep you mentally stimulated and put you under often unnecessary pressure.
- Stopping multitasking – it keeps your mind full and makes you more reactive. Try and focus on one single task. If you notice your mind drifting off to other things, then try and push aside these thoughts and complete the task in hand.
Keep a journal of how you are doing, reflect every few weeks on how mindfulness is (hopefully) positively impacting your life. And be kind to yourself.