Mindfulness has become a popular and trendy movement recently. The act of focusing on awareness on the flow of the present moment. It brings into the center of the present moment so that we are aware of what we do while we are doing it. It may seem both easy obvious yet when we focus our attention to our thoughts we will discover that we waste the majority of our day thinking about past and future events. Or if we are fortunate enough, lounging around day dreaming instead of paying attention on what matters.

Most of us have a natural point of view and our thoughts are dominated by either past, present or future events. What we don’t want is that past or future events dominating our present experiences or that we live too much in the present that we don’t learn from past experiences nor plan for the future. So like most things in life we seek balance.

The practice of mindfulness teaches us to become aware of our thoughts and the present moment. It is a habit we need to nurture because our natural tendency is to stray from the here and how to tomorrow, next week or next month. When we practice mindfulness we keep calling back our wandering mind to rest on the current moment.

Some of the Benefits of Mindfulness
Below are some of the many benefits of mindfulness and how they can improve our focus and productivity.

More Effective Planning
On the outset, mindfulness may appear to conflict with the concept of planning but in fact they complement each other greatly. Planning allows us to practice mindfulness by reducing the burdens that the mind needs to worry about. If we are to schedule and plan all our responsibilities and duties we have less to distract us from our daily tasks. When applying mindfulness techniques planning can be a much more effective process and not be delayed by the disruptions of other activities and ideas.

Greater Focus
One of our biggest challenges to getting things done is the distraction of the mind, even though we try to get one job done, our mind reminds us of twenty others that still need doing. We readily check our email simply because our brain alerts us to the idea there could be unread emails in our inbox and in the event they remain unchecked we could be missing the fact that the planet is soon to be demolished by an extraterrestrial construction crew!

As this thought comes into our head we then remember that our copy of the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People was lent to a friend so maybe we should shoot over to Amazon and buy a fresh copy. Mindfulness jumps in the way of all these distractions of the mind and says “Hey, come back to the present moment, get what needs to be done, done!”

Stress Reduction

A lot of stress is brought about by imagining negative future scenarios, if we were to live completely in the present we would not suffer from this stress. But the human brain has the ability to cast itself into the future, so for now we are stuck with this capability, and will have to learn how to manage it. Stressing about future scenarios that haven’t happened is a pointless habit; mindfulness can teach us how to redirect these negative and worrying thoughts back to the present moment and remind us that the future hasn’t happened and so far is not controlling our present circumstances. Mindfulness can also help with the insomnia that often accompanies stressful situations.

As we lie awake during the night thinking about the poor sales figures or perhaps the debts that need to be paid, it’s important to bring our focus back to our physical body, noticing our breath, and the simple fact we are lying comfortable and warm in bed and stuff whirling through our minds have not happened yet.

Take this moment to know that the future hasn’t happened, the past is gone and the present, the wonderful present, is all we have and all that is assured. Remember to be part of every second that you live and experience to gift which is Now.

Happy Holidays to all,
Anne McGurty

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