Ever have one of those days where it seems like one negative or challenging thing keeps happening one after another? You know what I am talking about because it happens to all of us. I call those challenges, “curve balls” as they are not part of our plans. Much like the batter at the plate who thinks he sees a straight ball coming at him, curve balls come at us out of nowhere.
Days like these call for special interventions- using tools that many of us lack or have long forgotten about that could actually make a difference in how we deal with life’s little and big unavoidable curve balls that we did not see coming.
One tool is practicing being present and mindful. While these terms have taken on a life of their own, it’s important to understand what they are really about. Mindfulness is a way to deal with stress, difficulties and life’s challenging moments and its benefits are significant.
Mindfulness is a state of being where all of one’s senses and focus is intentionally targeted on one thing. Being mindful or engaging in mindfulness means we are maintaining an awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and environment moment by moment, without letting in any external stimuli or unwanted thoughts. Practicing this takes time and intention.
Being mindful therefore requires being present. And being present requires us to make the time and space to be in a quiet safe space where no one in our immediate world wants or needs anything from us.
There are different ways to achieve a mindful state, however, what they all have in common is usually a posture that is grounding or centering. Some people prefer to sit, while others prefer to lay down. Sitting with feet flat on the floor can be beneficial. Some people close their eyes, creating an intentional visualization, while others choose to focus on an object seeing it in living color in glorious detail in a way they have not ever noticed it.
Mindfulness can also occur through meditation. There are many good meditation apps for this or consult someone you know that has mindfulness training to assist you.
This is not an easy practice for most at first. Many of us are either trying to focus on three things at once, are lamenting a regret from the past, or are worried about the future.
Once thought of as something only spiritual leaders or gurus engage in, mindfulness has come to the mainstream for good reason.
When we are fully present, when we have full awareness of what we are thinking and how we are feeling we can be intentional about how we respond to life’s curve balls.
We can also be more intentional about turning off and tuning out the worrisome or anxious thoughts. In the workplace we can be more thoughtful with our remarks, more intentional with our decisions, and more authentic in how we show up and respond to problems, people and challenges.
So what is the fall out of not practicing mindfulness -or in essence not being aware of what we are thinking, feeling or what is motivating our decisions?
In the absence of mindfulness and being fully present, we will act on autopilot- saying the things we “always say” and doing the things “we always do” in same or similar situations– and getting the same undesirable results.
Since we are all a product of a lifetime of learning and habits, most of us tend to react to life’s curveballs rather than learning how to thoughtfully respond to them.
Ever wonder why sometimes navigating personal or professional relationships can seem so tricky? One reason is because rather than pausing and being present with a thoughtful response, many of us react out of learned and practiced behavior.
Mindfulness changes all of that.
Working on this one thing can produce amazing results both at home and in the workplace that ease tension and stress and help us form more meaningful relationships as well as keep calm to resolve challenging issues.
Start with you and start today. Make 3 minutes of quiet and safe space. Inhale deeply. In through your nose, pause for two, and exhale out your mouth. Breathe at your own pace as you engage in noticing the feel of the air as it comes in through your nose. Notice your body’s sensations as you exhale out of your mouth. Feel the tension rise up in your inhale and relax on the exhale. Now your mind is prepared for what is next. From there you can create a visualization, recite a mantra, or meditate.
When you begin to practice this as a lifestyle, a whole new world of wellbeing can open up for you.
Let’s continue the conversation- fully present and aware so when those curve balls come we can be prepared for them.
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