I am a big fan of that there mindfulness thing. I make time for meditation daily, and I practise mindfulness to slow down the pace of life, reduce stress, and to just BE.
I would like to welcome to the blog today the lovely Bob Brotchie; Bob and I met through the medium of Twitter, and he is often seen here in my blog comments. After my post last week on the once a day email challenge, Bob has some great comments (as usual!), and I invited him to guest post here and share his experience with the power of mindfulness in life and the workplace.
Over to you, Bob…
We’re off to work…
But, just who is ‘we’?
Regardless of whether we work from home, or another dedicated environment, isn’t it noticeable just how often thoughts crossover? At home, I might catch myself thinking of a client or other business associated matter. At work I may allow my attention to wander and consider something domestic, the kids, the wife…
This may be natural in today’s society and culture, but how helpful is it?
Throughout our waking day our psyche wears many hats – so to speak; different personas, (persona, coming from a Greek root, meaning – mask). If we are at home it may be as a mother, father, son, daughter, lover, spouse. If we are travelling to work, then we are anonymous for the most part – a member of the public. At work, we are the persona created by us, with all the attendant expectations of us.
Each of these environments requires different things of us because of our previous and ongoing learning, and our established belief systems which allow us to ‘be’ – automatically for much of the time. This can create conflict and loss of performance, an increase in stress, an inability to transit smoothly from workplace to home, and home to workplace.
Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, for the most part, we are doing so automatically – on auto-pilot, mindlessly! We do this, knowing that if we just get on with comfortably ‘knowing’ what we are supposed to be doing, in some way this would make our lives easier. Why on earth would we want to be thinking about what we’re doing when we ‘know’ how it’s done? Because, when we operate on auto, the redundant space in our mind is available for negative thoughts, for thoughts that have nothing to do with just what we are supposed to be doing – and this is anything but efficient!
If you find your mind going off on one, a tangent, getting ambushed by negativity, or struggling to focus, then most specifically, the things you do in life that are usually without conscious thought, you can choose to think in the moment, with present moment awareness
What might that feel like? Let me demonstrate.
Can you recall the first day at school, at work, or with a date?
Can you remember how everything was so vivid, so tangible? You’re senses were heightened; you were truly ‘there’.
When we are in that moment, every moment that you can bring your senses to, you truly are living life, doing what you are supposed to be doing with your entire mind.
That mind is unavailable to be hijacked, and to demonstrate a lack of focus. You and it are in the only place that truly matters.
Forward thinking has no basis in reality. Thinking of what to have for dinner, or what you are doing at the weekend whilst photocopying or in a meeting isn’t going to alter those outcomes about the dinner or weekend. Paying attention to even the most mundane of chores is important to quieten the mind-chatter, silence the ‘monkey-mind’, chattering away about this, that – and the other.
…and when you finish work – finish work!
Slip off the work persona, once you close the home office, or leave your workplace desk and leave the building. Embrace the journey home if travelling. Notice what is around you, using those senses of smell, taste (not always easy!), touch, sight and sounds – without judgement.
Just ask the question: What can I see, smell, etc. “I can see a field in-between the hedgerows whilst sitting in the traffic jam, I’d not noticed that before”! And while you are asking those questions of your senses, you can be nowhere else.
Before you get home, visualise the door, any greeting that might come your way and anyone who may be waiting for you. Walk in, and be there! Work is a distant memory that now requires NO attention, unless there really is an action to be taken because of a thought that has taken you away from the place you are supposed to be?
At meal time we have and often fail to embrace a perfect opportunity to engage and family, and truly appreciate the meal. Eating mindfully is another extension for bringing life back to our senses, rather than inhaling the food almost as an inconvenience. Look at the food, the colours and shapes. Taste it, really, really taste it – before swallowing it! Feel the textures and surfaces of each mouthful in an interested way. Hear the ‘crunch’, smell the aromas. See how challenging it can be re-minding yourself to put food on the fork – to your mouth – using your senses – before loading that fork again!
Why the meal? This was a piece on working mindfully?
Because thinking mindfully at home or work is equally important, and we hopefully eat at both places, though if you can bring mindful eating to your lunch, away from the desk for 30 minutes, then you are really enhancing the quality and performance at home, and work.
There are many, many more aspects I could share with you around living mindfully but that’s for another time. If you want to explore further, I welcome your enquiry. My private practice and its ethos is based on mindful living to overcome stress, anxiety, depression and relationship challenges - whilst finding your optimal performance in all you undertake in this most precious life.
Thanks so much Bob! Now, over to you – do you practise mindfulness at home or work? If you try it, let me know how you get on!