Written by: Justin Reynolds
According to a Harvard study, we spend nearly half of our time — 47% to be exact — thinking about something other than what we’re doing at any particular moment.
When we’re not focused on the task at hand, it becomes incredibly difficult to reach our full potential and do our best work.
What if there was a way to expel all of these random thoughts from our minds?
In a recent TED Talk, mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe explored the benefits of meditation and how we all can benefit from clearing our minds and focusing on the present moment. By meditating regularly and developing mindfulness skills, we can regain focus and control over our thoughts, thereby using our brainpower more effectively.
“We can’t change every little thing that happens to us in life, but we can change the way that we experience it,” Puddicombe says. “All you need to do is to take 10 minutes out a day to step back, to familiarize yourself with the present moment so that you get to experience a greater sense of focus, calm, and clarity in your life.”
By practicing mindfulness, we can become more productive in both our personal and professional lives. And the best part? There are a number of ways we can incorporate mindfulness into our everyday routines that aren’t disruptive. Here are some of them:
1. Mindful breathing
Whenever you feel overwhelmed at work, take a minute or two to focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth slowly. Let go of all of the thoughts that are floating around in your mind. After a few minutes, you should be thoroughly relaxed, calm, and focused.
2. Mindful observation
Chances are you have a number of objects sitting on your desk that you see every day. There are pens, pads, and staplers. Maybe you have a tissue box somewhere nearby. Next time you’re flustered, pick up a seemingly boring object and study it intensely as if you were looking at it for the first time. Negative thoughts will flee your mind as you take the object in.
3. Mindful awareness
There are so many things you do every day that you never think about. Take your morning routine, for instance. Are you really thinking intensely about getting out of bed, walking to the bathroom to brush your teeth, turning on the shower, or pouring yourself a cup of coffee? Almost certainly not. Because we do these things every day, we do them almost subconsciously. Pay close attention to the next door you open. Take notice of how the knob feels in your hand and the texture of the door itself. Think about where the door will lead you — and even who might have put the door into place however long ago. Say goodbye to your autopilot to improve your focus.
It’s impossible for us to reach our full potential when we have millions of thoughts swirling around in our minds all the time. By practicing mindfulness, we can learn how to better control our minds, thoughts, and behaviors — which enables us to become more effective however we decide to put our minds to work.
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