Do we really have the time to be “mindful” during our busy days at home and at work? What is mindfulness and what are the benefits?
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines mindfulness as: “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also: such a state of awareness.”

Today, many pride themselves (and I did too) on being great at multi-tasking. I learned from various experts and have found out myself by experimenting, that multi-tasking actually increases our feeling of overwhelm, decreases quality of work and effectiveness. We can truly only focus on one thing at a time and when we switch between multiple things we take more time because we have to orient ourselves again to each of the tasks. If, for example, you switch between doing emails and writing a book, you take more time to do what you want to do than if you do just one of the tasks at a time, switching after you have completed what you wanted to do.

With mindfulness as a heightened state of awareness, we can approach every task in a calm, efficient and effective way. Our error rate and thus rework and costly mistakes decrease. This has great implications for work – in business or healthcare – and in our personal life.

Being mindful is easy and you can start by taking a slow and deep breath. Focusing on your breathing alone can decrease your stress level and your feeling of overwhelm. Being in the moment focusing on what you are doing right now allows you to eliminate worry – we can only worry about the future, we cannot worry about the now. In the now, you do not ruminate about the past, feeling bad because you or someone said or did something unkind.

“Being mindful is a shift from being our thinking—being that blabbering voice in our heads—to being aware of our thinking. This subtle inner shift allows us to see our thinking objectively, to see our emotions objectively, and to have more awareness of what we’re doing and who we’re with.” (Tenney)

If you are ready to take it to the next level, you can learn and practice mindfulness meditation in this excellent video by Dr. Deepak Chopra

Sarah McKay, from the Chopra Center, shares in her article The Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation, mindfulness meditation benefits include the following:

-Increased focused attention
-Positive shifts in mood
-Enhanced self-awareness
-Improved health and well-being

The positive health benefits are impressive and there is evidence that mindfulness meditation affects the brain and might cause neuroplastic changes in the structure and function of brain regions involved in regulation of attention, emotion, and self-awareness. Brain-imaging studies also reveal that mindfulness meditation changes brain structure and alters patterns of brain activity.

Dr. Deepak Chopra recommends the following steps to being more mindful:

1. Stop and ask yourself if you are aware: “Stopping and asking yourself questions about if you are aware and what you are aware of will bring you to the present moment. That’s what awareness is. It has no location or sense of time; it’s a state of being,” he explained.

2. Close your eyes and focus on your body and how it is functioning.

3. Concentrate on your breathing for five minutes.

4. Before you react to anything, observe your reaction and ask yourself why you are reacting that way.

I invite you to please share your journey to mindful life and leadership on my Facebook page .

Author's Bio: 

Ulrike Berzau, Executive Coach & Consultant, works with individuals, teams and organization to achieve exceptional results in life and business. With extensive experience as healthcare executive, she is known for providing highly respected insights and creative solutions to secure continuous advancement and excellence. Ulrike has an unwavering passion for igniting the talent and brilliance in others and her international and multicultural experiences allow her to relate to a diverse audience. Her ambitious, yet well balanced, positive and inspiring mindset is the catalyst of her own success and assures the success of clients, staff and organizations.

Ulrike is the co-author of the International Best-Seller Imagine a Healthy You and an inspirational speaker. She is certified as Thinking into Results Consultant, Passion Test Facilitator, ASAP Engagement Consultant and Achieve Today Coach, and holds a Master’s Degree in Management, a Master’s Degree in Health Science, Physical Therapy, and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.