What’s the fuss with Mindfulness? Surely it’s just a fad, fleeting and unnecessary…? Well from my point of view it’s most definitely necessary and if we keep living the way that we are, it’s going to become even more critical to integrate it into our routines in order to be well – emotionally, mentally and physically, while maintaining our expectations, standards and optimal performance.
Life has become quite busy, in fact with the technology advancements the world is a lot smaller, we work 24/7 and we expect things immediately. Yet as humans we have not evolved to this level of constant processing, we need sufficient sleep, a nutritious diet, exercise and believe it or not time to recharge, take stock and consolidate information, plan.
That’s where Mindfulness becomes necessary and what in fact creates the balance we need in the world we live in, to function at our optimum.
What largely makes our humanness and sets us apart as unique, is our experiences and our emotions. Up until now in the main, our emotions have been brushed aside as unprofessional or inconvenient, too difficult to manage, time consuming, something that may, in certain circumstances, even be medicated or suppressed. However, what if we were to embrace our emotions, accept that in fact they can be utilised as an asset in navigating everyday life. Understanding them in the first instance is key, and they are different for each of us, but they do have a significant impact on our being.
Emotions start with a thought, one that can be triggered by any number of experiences, conversations, sound, visuals etc. And given what our brains can process in a second and conjure up, a lot of emotions can be experienced without proper comprehension. Yet once an emotion is felt it has a chain reaction of physical manifestation and even behavioural urges and actions. For example, imagine embarrassment creating a blush reaction and then your arms immediately cross over your body and you have the urge to escape, hide, or change a conversation topic etc. All of this can happen in a split second, without your full awareness if you are not tuned in to the trigger you experienced, thus explaining what caused the chain reaction. Which may not in fact be related to what was occurring then, in that moment, but was of a similar experience to something you previously went through and your brain is recalling in detail what manifested as a result. Recalling connections that appear to make sense, and have been experienced before. Without due diligence of self, and self awareness, which has become more infrequent today with multi-tasking and juggling, it’s possible to get caught up in emotions that tend to rule your day, as opposed to being merely part of it!
Mindfulness enables us to take the necessary quiet time, a pause, or even micro-pause, within the day, that we need to give ourselves the space to process what we are experiencing and start choosing our responses as opposed to habitually reacting. Or trying to ‘fit in‘ with what we perceive as ‘socially acceptable‘ or ‘normal‘, but in fact doing what we feel is right in that unique moment.
Our emotions build up throughout the day and often times they are ignored and as I acknowledged they remain lurking only to sneak up on us at moments of heightened stress, frustration and angst and exacerbate a singular incident due to the built up emotions from experiences that occurred prior. If continuously left ignored this build up creates unconscious habits and feelings associated with certain situations.
By adopting Mindfulness practices or pauses you start to notice the emotions you experience throughout your day and choose to address them and retrain your behaviours towards situations and individuals as a singular event. This gives you a greater control, resilience and you become a force of adaptability. No longer allowing your brains neural pathways to lead the charge, no more taking things at face value. You master a greater sense of self awareness enabling you to rise above adversities more frequently, choosing your responses.
The bridge that Mindfulness creates for us to address our emotions and feelings is so key to leading a balanced and present life. But Mindfulness has so much more to offer to us, than just this one benefit. Mindfulness, within it’s definition reminds us to be observers, curious and kind. To remember to approach situations, people, challenges with a sense of genuine curiosity and kindness for ourselves and others, allows us to be less assuming, less judgemental. And when we change our approach in this way we are open, able to see each incident, conversation or experience for it’s own uniqueness, without labelling it prior to it’s occurrence just because we’ve had prior lessons previously.
It has become increasingly more common today for people to have decided on outcomes prior to experiencing them, which does not allow for learning, growth or the absorption of new information to be assimilated. And we often like to prove ourselves right as well, so making an outcome fit our prior expectations feels good, even if it’s an outcome we would not truly like, the feeling of being ‘right’ is deeply satisfying.
So practising a Mindful approach throughout your day enables you to be observing, curious and reminds you to be kind. It is not a natural state for us to live by all that often but with practice we can re-train ourselves to shift our emotions, approaches and detach from that which does not serve us.
So how can you bring more Mindfulness into your life?
Start your day with Gratitude, when we are in a state of noticing what we are grateful for we begin our days with more energy, positivity and that enables us to be more resilient to what may transpire.
Notice your emotions, become curious as to when they arise, what they are expressing to you. With this knowledge you can start to understand them and manage them so they do not overcome you.
Practise Curiosity, ask meaningful questions and notice how people respond to your interest in them. A lot of times we make assumptions even during conversations and do not ask the obvious questions. You may be surprised that the answers are not what you expect.
Listen to what is occurring around you. Listen in the silence, in the noise and to your conversations. A lot is assimilated through listening, but most of the time we are not present to it fully.
Practise kindness, to yourself mostly – when we are kind to ourselves we are more tolerant, understanding and appreciative of others, as we are our own worst critic!
Get outside, put down the electronic devices and take some time in nature, fresh air and enjoy the space.
Meditate, through simple breathing practises where you focus on your breathe, by repeating affirmations, through listening to the sounds around you while you are still. There are many ways to practise meditation, this will centre you and have you feeling healthier in mind, body & soul.
Remember that you do not know everything, you are still learning and each moment brings new opportunities!
If you are feeling called to reconnect with your inner world, so that you can start to show up in your outer world as the very best version of yourself. Then you need to check out my self study on-line program Me, Myself & Mindfulness. This program will have you using Mindfulness techniques, simply and seamlessly integrated into your life, it will ask you the hard questions that you need to become clear on in order to achieve your own personal sense of Success and have you start to build a life you love and deserve with Clarity through Conscious Creation.
Alison Callan is The Clarity and Success Coach for Aspiring Entrepreneurs, as well as an Internationally Accredited Coach and Mindfulness Consultant, Facilitator and Speaker.
Committed to helping You mindfully align with your mission to create Conscious Business with Purpose, Confidence and Ease. So that you live a life you love and deserve with Clarity through Conscious Creation.