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3 Quick Tips for Fitting Mindfulness Into Your Day

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Mon Jul 02 2018

3 Quick Tips for Fitting Mindfulness Into Your Day
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Have you ever been about to make a presentation and felt your heart racing? Rub on a little extra deodorant before a big job interview? Being aware of your body and its reactions to certain stimuli has long been called “mindfulness.” Being mindful of your body and its surroundings has been shown in research from top medical universities like Harvard, Northwestern, and Johns Hopkins to reduce stress, increase brain density, and work to help increase empathy, memory, and attention span.

For maximum benefits, some studies claim 45 minutes to one hour a day of mindfulness meditation is needed. But with today’s frenzied pace—9-hour workdays, parental or elder care duties for many, exercising to keep the rest of your body fit, and time to develop yourself professionally—an extra hour of sitting in a dark room focusing on your breath might just make you feel even more anxious.

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For those who, like me, have little time to spare, here are three quick ways to create a little more mindfulness in your everyday routine:

1. Take a walk. David Cox, chief medical officer at Headspace, explained to SELF magazine that an easy way to increase mindfulness is to pick a repetitive task like walking, or cooking a familiar recipe, and immerse yourself in your senses. Instead of mentally rehashing what you still have to get done that day, take five minutes to focus on each of your senses, one at a time: listen, look, smell, taste, and touch your surroundings. Let your mind wander, but don’t get hung up on any one thought; let the thoughts float by, then go back to the sensations of the task at hand.

2. Forgive yourself. Ryan M. Niemiec, PhD, urged readers in Psychology Today to forgive yourself, repeatedly. Did you lose? Were you late for a meeting? Forgive yourself. When you have self-compassion, you grow your capacity to have compassion for others as well; you will also gain more confidence and a stronger character. Don’t forget, we’re all humans and all of us make mistakes.

3. STOP. Diana Winston, director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, told the LA Times that when you feel a stressful moment coming on, just STOP—Slow down, Take a breath, and Observe what’s happening before you Proceed. Pay attention to what your body is telling you before you react. Sometimes just taking a moment before you go with your first (often emotional) reaction can stop a potentially disruptive situation from happening.

Practicing moments of reflection creates a more mindful you. By becoming more mindful, you are creating a more tolerant, relaxed, empathetic version of yourself, who can work more harmoniously with others and be more productive at the office and beyond.

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To discover more in-depth tips about how mindfulness can help you and your organization grow, register for the TalentNext conference this November!

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