National Stress Awareness Day
MINDFULNESS GOES TO WORK
The ability to bounce back from set backs may be fundamental to learning, expanding experience and maintaining relationships. But few people invest in training their minds to bolster resilience effectively. Your ability to hold your own under pressure is a skill that you can learn.
Mindfulness Not-for-profit, The BeingWell, is urging the public to take stock of their strategies for managing pressure for Stress Awareness Day. Dr Sherylin Thompson, The BeingWell director, says: “Building resilience to pressure is just being responsible. Ensuring that you are aware of, and know how to manage your individual pressure triggers and boiling points is essential to function at your best and as part of a group.”
Mindfulness trains the mind to focus on the present moment. This seemingly simple practice has been introduced in Parliament, the NHS and some top firms in the UK including Credit Suisse and KPMG. “Like what gym is to the body, mindfulness is to the mind. It builds strength, agility and flexibility” says Dr Thompson, “Mindfulness builds mind muscle to not only hold up against pressure but to think clearly through it.”
More information can be found at www.thebeingwell.org/mbsr
6 top tips to practice mindfulness throughout the day
Mindful awareness is like training a muscle. You repeat the movement of bringing your attention back to the present moment again and again. This trains the mind to not drift into circular over-thinking and worrying. You learn to manage more consciously where you choose to place your attention.
Here are some ways you can practice mindfulness without meditating to improve a sense of wellbeing even while you are on the go.
Take a few minutes during the day to just eat. Not multi-tasking lunch with conversation, the computer or phone. Just absorb the taste and textures of the food. Take in the smells. You’re much more likely to feel satisfied and nourished
Often when we walk in familiar surroundings our minds disconnect and go for a wander of their own. And when things are stressful, our minds can go to unhelpful places. When walking, sense deeply into the movement. The contact with the ground. The stretch and contracting of the muscles. Notice the sights, sounds, smells, temperature. This gives you respite and a break from negative thinking. And the mini-break restores a bit of wellbeing.
Observe your breathing
Paying attention to breathing can also slow the cycling of repetitive thoughts and worries. When the thinking slows down, there can be more clarity and creativity. Notice the air enter the body, the movement of the body as it breaths. Follow a full in breath and a full out breath. Repeat this a few times
Practice mini pauses
Before automatically opening an email, answering the phone, pushing the button in the lift… pause. Notice with full awareness the actions you are taking. This develops your ability to not just react unthinkingly. This is a valuable skill when you are under pressure
Listen with all of you
Open up fully to hear what someone is saying. Put on hold what you want to say next or any immediate judgements. Just take in the words. Listen with what you see and observe the tone, pitch, pauses, expressions. This will give you much more information to find the right response
Break the routine
Getting out of your routine slightly can bring you back to your senses more. Bring novelty to the familiar. Try a different type of coffee or tea in the morning, take a slightly different route to work, rearrange your desk or a room at home slightly