Mindfulness: 1 simple thing that will make you less stressed – A gorgeous Soul | Mindful Lifestyle Blog | Dubai
HOW TO STOP BEING STRESSED AND ANXIOUS IN ONLY 10 MINUTES A DAY USING MINDFULNESS
1. WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness. Everybody seems to be talking about it. It apparently improves productivity, working environments, relationships, communication, life itself… Seems to be the cure for everything. But what exactly IS mindfulness?
Since mindfulness is one of the core topics of my blog, it only seems logical to write an introduction about it – for all those, who don‘t know what it is exactly or have only heard briefly about it. Please bear in mind, that I‘m not a medical adviser nor a guru.
However, I’m not only a writer and marketing professional, I’m originally also an enthusiastic researcher by profession (not a lot of people know that about me). The following text reflects therefore not only my opinion about and my own experience with mindfulness but is also backed by scientific evidence.
If you google mindfulness, a lot of definitions will pop up. My own short definition of it is ‘the practice of training one‘s mind to pay attention to the present moment gently’. Although mindfulness can be traced back thousands of years to mostly Eastern religious and spiritual institutions and is one of the core principles of Buddhism and Hinduism, it gained more popularity in 1979 through Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn.
He researched the effects of mindfulness meditation on chronically ill patients and its effects on the human brain at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS). After observing significantly positive results, he developed an 8-week program called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is being taught at UMASS until today.
Stripped down to its most essential meaning, mindfulness can be translated into the following: to be fully present in the moment and to focus on the here and now. Sounds quite simple, doesn‘t it? Why is the world making such a huge fuss about mindfulness then?
2. WHY WE NEED MINDFULNESS
In todays modern world, we all are constantly distracted: by our permanently blinking smartphone, by the very annoying notifications on our laptop, by the TV, screaming kids, big city traffic noise and above all that – the chatter in our mind. Our mind, which loves to wander off, jumping from one thought to another to another. We‘re often daydreaming or thinking and worrying about the past and the future.
‘What if I would have done that differently?’, ‘What if I don‘t get that promotion?’ – Those thoughts are not only pointless, they also prevent us from enjoying the present, the here and now. Instead, we‘re always on edge, already somewhere else in our minds, barely noticing the beauty that derives from the present moment.
A recently conducted research at Harvard University describes that about 47% of the time we’re awake our mind is wandering and that this behavior also increases unhappiness.
Additionally, multitasking has helped to decrease our already rather short attention span and has led to less productivity in the workplace and in our private lives. Instead of focusing on only one task, we often throw ourselves into working on various tasks at once, only to finish them mediocre or not at all.
Take constant e-mail notifications while you‘re working on a budget sheet with a tight deadline. It is highly improbable that you get into the flow mode while being distracted by mostly unimportant messages and hence more likely to make mistakes within your excel sheet. Or take eating lunch in front of your computer: Have you really finished that super important presentation diligently, while stuffing a sandwich into your mouth? How did that sandwich even taste?
Our short attention span, our craving for instant gratification through social media, our fast paced information society has led to a high level of stress and frustration for a lot of its members.
Another negative factor of being always on edge and stressed is, that one feels guilty, if there is suddenly free time, let‘s say, on the weekend to chill out. Instead of relaxing, a lot of people panic and bring more work upon themselves. Have you ever had that guilty feeling while being in a spa instead of enjoying your massage there? Or could you truly relax and let go of your anxiety?