Three good robust questions about Mindfulness leap to mind.
- First, what is it?
- Second, what can it do for me?
- And third, is it a fad that will soon pass?
Taking these one a time…
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply living in the ‘now’, being aware of your present feelings and surroundings.
Most people are aware they use most of their attention focusing on things they want to achieve in the future or getting lost in memories and stories from their past. Mindfulness is not ‘getting rid of’ these altogether, but about being in a kind of dance between being in the moment and catching yourself being swept away by thoughts of past or future.
In this state, you can detach yourself from your thoughts, and simply notice them without having to rush to judge them.
The practice is also around valuing being in the here and now and consciously wanting to spend more time being present.
What are the advantages of mindfulness?
For one thing, we become better listeners. This can bring enormous personal and professional advantages. It creates trust and intimacy with people. It enables you to gain insights into other people¹s thinking and thus gain significant influence. Great coaches and charismatic people tend to be great listeners, able to truly hear another person without that person feeling judged.
Recall a time when you were talking about something important to you and the person ‘listening’ seemed distracted and uninterested.
Would you be influenced or impressed by this person?
It also brings tranquillity. The natural human impulse to ‘fix it’ gets put aside and unhelpful urgency removed. With this comes a calming acceptance that your problems will find a solution – but right now, it is sufficient to simply enjoy the moment.
Is mindfulness a fad?
Well, it certainly has become popular recently, in both the therapy and business worlds. However it is a practice with origins going back thousands of years.
No doubt another Big Idea will come along at some time and steal its limelight, but I believe that mindfulness will remain a powerful tool for professional and personal development.