There’s no doubt about it. Our lives are extremely busy – we’re working longer and harder than ever, our lives are filled with endless distractions and our To Do list never seems to be complete. It’s not surprising that one of the biggest costs facing businesses today is employee absenteeism. Employee absenteeism due to stress, depression and anxiety. This isn’t only a huge financial cost to businesses, but it’s also a cost to individuals with a loss in productivity, a loss in self-belief, a loss in clarity of mind and heart, and a loss of joy in life.
Mindfulness cultivates a deep and compassionate awareness of ourselves and others, and leads to greater stillness of the mind, better clarity and decision making, enhanced perspective and better emotional resilience. In fact, becoming mindful enables you to have control in your life as you start to see you have choice, and it’s this choice that enables you to fly and live your true potential.
Recent scientific evidence also shows that mindfulness alters key areas of the brain that are responsible for processing information, memory, concentration and positive emotions. What wires together fires together.
So what really is mindfulness and how do you define it?
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about being conscious and aware in every present moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center defines mindfulness as:
“paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”
Mindfulness isn’t a religion, nor it is sitting cross legged on the floor for hours meditating. Mindfulness is about being aware of your thoughts, your emotions, your bodily sensations, and your impulses in each and every given moment. Through awareness, you are able to come off autopilot and live your life in a more meaningful and productive way.
How Do You Become Mindful?
Becoming more mindful is a bit like going to the gym. You won’t notice results after one visit, and you won’t notice results if you only go once every three weeks.
You must consistently engage in a formal mindfulness practice as it is in the practice where real change is experienced. You can also become more mindful through an informal mindfulness practice like becoming aware of what you are eating, or becoming aware and engaging all your senses when you read a report or attend a meeting, or read your child a bedtime story.
Mindfulness is becoming increasingly mainstream with hospitals, armies and corporations engaging in mindfulness based practices to enable them to make better decisions, enhance productivity, create better relationships, manage pain etc.
Outcomes of Mindfulness Practices
- Greater clarity
- Increased emotional regulation
- Increased attention regulation (greater focus and concentration)
- Greater resilience to stress
- Improved memory and learning
- Better decision making ability
- Improved relationships
- Improved immune system
- Better management of pain
I first started practising mindfulness as a 24 year old in New Zealand. What’s great now is that not only are we talking openly about mindfulness, but large corporations are embracing mindfulness. As William George, a current Goldman Sachs board member and a former chief executive of the healthcare giant Medtronic has stated “The main business case for meditation is that if you’re fully present on the job, you will be more effective as a leader, you will make better decisions and you will work better with other people.”
I currently run my own bespoke Mindfulness programmes for companies and individuals, along with the 8-week “Finding Peace in a Frantic World” Mindfulness Programme designed by Oxford’s Mindfulness Centre Professor Mark William.
I am also an accredited Mindfulness Trainer with Mindfulness At Work where we run Taster Mindfulness Sessions, the Award Winning 4-Week Mindfulness is Now programme, and bespoke Mindfulness programmes for large corporations including Aimia, Goldman Sacs, Ashurst LLP, Grace Belgravia, American Express, Russell Investments, Bird and Bird LLP, to name but a few.
For further information about mindfulness training and to discuss your individual requirements, please contact me.
What Others Say:
“I found your teaching very gentle and human. You had a sound grasp of all the componets but were very grounded and realistic about what was achievable and very forgiving! I hope that I am able to take all the components that I have learned and use them for the rest of my life. I actually feel that its impossible to ‘unlearn’ the principles of mindfulness and therefore the whole programme is truly life enhacing. Thank you!”
GP, Tauranga, New Zealand
“Anne is a wonderful teacher and guide through unwrapping and discovering the benefits of mindfulness. With ease she helped us discover it was in each of us. A really life changing and life affirming course – I would highly recommend it again and again.”
GP, Queenstown, New Zealand
“I have developed a sense of inner calm and realisation that I DO have choices as to how I respond to stress and life. Anne is lovely, calm and very informative.”
“Through the Frantic World course I have been able to find stillness and make ‘me’ an important part of my day. It’s so easy to rush through life, and I now see that there is so much more texture to life”.
“I now have perspective and the realisation that things can be changed easily. Anne delivered the course with a genuine gentleness and ease that didn’t feel rehearsed, stiff or formal. She’s very engaging.”