Mindfulness is the ability to stay focused, while being aware of your thoughts and surroundings and being able to recognize and move past distractions as they arise.
In our information-saturated workplaces, this mental skill is becoming as important as emotional intelligence and technical skills. Research shows that people spend almost 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, which impairs their creativity, performance, and well-being.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training. The term “mindfulness” is a translation of the Pali term sati, which is a significant element of Buddhist traditions. In Buddhist teachings, mindfulness is utilized to develop self-knowledge and wisdom that gradually lead to what is described as enlightenment or the complete freedom from suffering. The recent popularity of mindfulness in the West is generally considered to have been initiated by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Mindfulness meditation involves the process of developing the skill of bringing one’s attention to whatever is happening in the present moment. There are several meditation exercises designed to develop mindfulness meditation. One method is to sit on a straight-backed chair or sit cross-legged on the floor or a cushion, close one’s eyes and bring attention to either the sensations of breathing in the proximity of one’s nostrils or to the movements of the abdomen when breathing in and out. In this meditation practice, one does not try to control one’s breathing, but attempts to simply be aware of one’s natural breathing process/rhythm. When engaged in this practice, the mind will often run off to other thoughts and associations, and if this happens, one passively notices that the mind has wandered, and in an accepting, non-judgmental way, returns to focusing on breathing.