Mindfulness: More Important Now Than Ever by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
If it seems like the word mindfulness is used a lot these days in both personal and professional growth, you are correct. There is a very good reason why times like these create a desire for people to feel more grounded, connected, and secure in their life and the world around them.
Mindfulness is a way of being present in the world to experience the moment. In times of stress, chaos, and change, having this ability to see yourself in real-time interacting in positive and meaningful ways is a particularly important experience. It is an effective way to reduce stress and feelings of overwhelm, as well as a way to center yourself.
It is easy to confuse mindfulness with meditation. While they are similar, mindfulness is focused on the present and the here and now, while meditation focuses on experiencing inner peace, calming the mind, and opening of the heart. Mediation is typically a structured activity allowing the mind to let go, while mindfulness is a practice that can occur anywhere and helps the mind to engage with the environment, both inside and outside of the body.
Reducing the “What If” Stress and Fear
It is natural for people to worry about the future. The fear may be based on concerns about employment, the growth of a business, or about more personal issues such as health, the safety of loved ones, or issues around finances, relationships, or other similar issues.
Mindfulness helps to break the negative cycle of all those “what if” thoughts that race around in your head. It clears the mind from thinking of all that can possibly go wrong and focuses it on what is working right now at this unique point in time.
Seeing the Potential
Our minds naturally move to “what’s next” rather than what is going on in the moment. By training ourselves to focus on the task at hand and the present reality, we are open to new possibilities and potentials.
For example, if you are rushing through a meeting to get to another meeting, are you really listening to what is being said? Are you focusing on the message and the speaker, or just listening to the general flow of the conversation while your inner voice is hurrying you along?
Slowing down and listening, engaging, and interacting in a mindful way creates a connection with friends, family, and those in the workplace. In leadership roles in any organization, this is a critical skill to hone in times of change and challenge.