HOW TO DEVELOP WORLD CLASS MENTAL RESILIENCE
HOW TO ACHIEVE MINDFULNESS
"MINDFULNESS IS A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness
on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging
and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to whatever is happening in our lives by being ‘fully in the moment’.
Practicing mindfulness allows us to be fully present in our life and work, and improve our quality of life.
Have you ever been driving somewhere and arrived at your destination, only to realise you remember nothing about your journey? Or started eating a chocolate bar, taken a couple of bites, then noticed all you had left was an empty wrapper in your hand? Or maybe it is a gorgeous day, but you don’t even see what is right in front of you?
These are common examples of ‘mindlessness’, or ‘going on autopilot’, when we go through our days without really paying attention to much of anything. Nobody else would suspect that we are hardly there; almost nobody notices, probably because they’re on autopilot, too.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter much. At other times it really does matter, because life begins to feel shallower if you spend too much time being unaware. As humans, we are often ‘not present’ in our own lives. Human minds are easily distracted, habitually examining past events and trying to anticipate the future, and constantly multi-tasking.
It is easy to lose awareness of the present moment as we become lost in our efforts to juggle work, home, finances, and other conflicting demands. Becoming more aware of our thoughts, emotions and sensations may not sound like an obviously helpful thing to do. However, learning to do this in a way that suspends judgement and self-criticism can have an incredibly positive
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has its origins in ancient Buddhist meditation practices. However, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the Western mainstream in recent years.
The acknowledged founder of modern day mindfulness is Jon Kabat-Zinn, who started the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the late 1970s. Since then over 18,000 people have completed the MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Programme to help with conditions as diverse as:
Studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular. This has inspired countless programmes in the US to adapt the MBSR model for schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centres and beyond.
Benefits of Mindfulness
There have been many studies related to mindfulness, which suggest mindfulness training may:
Improve memory and academic performance. In one study, students who did attention-building exercises had increased focus, less mind-wandering, better short term memory and better performance on exams.
Help with losing weight and eating healthier foods. Mindful eating means paying attention to each bite and eating slowly, at the same time being aware of all your senses. Participants in mindfulness studies ate fewer calories when they were hungrier than the control groups.
Lead to better decision-making. Some experiments associated mindfulness meditation with being less prone to our tendency to stick with lost causes, because of the time and effort already invested, such as with a bad relationship or a poor job. Studies suggest that mindfulness helps us focus on what is most important.
Mindfulness can lower stress and can help cope with chronic health issues. Studies showed that mindfulness increased both mental and physical well-being in patients with chronic pain, cancer, and heart disease.
Improve immunity and create positive brain changes. Researchers measured brain activity before and after volunteers were trained in the technique of mindfulness meditation for eight weeks. It was found that it increases the density of grey matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation and empathy. Studies suggested that mindfulness changes our brains.
Mindfulness is about tuning in and being more aware of every experience – to be fully living in the moment. This part of William Blake’s poem perfectly describes this kind of attentiveness:
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MENTAL RESILIENCE and MINDSET
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Burnout is characterised by disengagement and stress by over-engagement. In burnout, your emotions become blunted; stress makes them over-reactive. Burnout causes emotional damage; stress primarily