“paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally” Jon Kabat-Zinn
How often do you “stop and smell the roses?” Don’t tell me – you don’t have the time! How can you take time to smell the roses when you have so much going on right now?
At the recent Henley Coaching Conference, I learnt how important doing just that can be! The wonderful Liz Hall from Coaching at Work explained the concept behind ‘Mindfulness’ and how it can significantly improve both our business and personal lives.
Mindfulness is about pressing pause on what is going on, taking a breath and focusing on what is happening to you right now. In a coaching environment it has a whole host of positive benefits for the client including:
· Becoming more self-aware
· Managing stress
· Managing reactions/responses
· Improving wellbeing.
There are a lot of scientific facts to back up the idea of taking time every day to build mindfulness into your life. The idea is that practising mindfulness can go some way towards rewiring the brain and form new neural pathways. Studies have shown increased health benefits including:
· Decreased cortisol (Tang et al 2007)
· Boosted immune system (Davidson et al, 2003)
· Improved medical conditions including type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and chronic pain (Walsh and Shapiro, 2006)
A simple way to incorporate mindfulness into your life is by meditating. This can be anything from 30 minutes a day to taking 3 minutes breathing space. This can be practiced anywhere – on the bus, in the office or in a coaching session. Take time to focus on your breathing and let your mind go (don’t worry it is natural for your mind to wander). Become aware of how each part of your body feels – don’t try and change it, just accept that is how it feels and let it go. Mindfulness is all about taking that breath and accepting without judgement.
So next time you feel too stressed and pushed for time to stop and smell the roses, take a breath, centre yourself and remember – 5 minutes spent now could change your life!