Friday, October 19 , 2018, 7:30 pm | Fair 78º

 
 
 

Susan Ann Darley: Mindfulness — The New Business Consciousness

From fad to practice, mindfulness is invading the workplace. Mindfulness conferences are cropping up everywhere with names like Conscious Capitalism: Elevating Humanity Through Business, and Compassion and Business.

According to the teaching of Buddha, mindfulness is of great importance in the path of enlightenment upon which greed and hatred are overcome. But I’m jumping ahead. We have a ways to go before that becomes our present day reality.

But all of this is good news. Mindfulness, which is not necessarily synonymous with meditation, is about being awake and aware. With a sense of present moment awareness you can “steer your career and your life in the direction you want it to go on every level,” as Jeff Cannon writes in the Huffington Post.

Whoa, this is pretty powerful stuff, and I’m all for it. I even teach it. I’ve also worked with a business people who have attended such workshops and conferences and walked out raring to go back to work to practice it.

Why? Because they’re tired of being stressed out.

In the animal kingdom, stress serves as a survival tool. The deer senses danger as the tiger crouches ready to pounce. It runs for its life — for survival. The deer’s stress signals are activated and serve a good purpose.

In the human kingdom, however, within the hustle and pressure of making a day-to-day living, stress can be constant. We can’t seem to find our “off switch” for stress.

Science tells us that stress is not a state of mind but is measurable and dangerous. Stress can contribute to headaches, stomach problems, high blood pressure, chest pain, insomnia and depression. Long-term stress lowers your immune system and disrupts your body’s ability to repair itself. It is estimated that 75 percent to 90 percent of all doctor office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

The practice of mindfulness can change those statistics. Below are a few of the benefits of mindfulness that are supported by studies and the American Psychological Association:

» Stress reduction

» Improved working memory

» Greater focus

» Less emotional reactivity

» Empathy

» Compassion

Mindfulness-based exercises can help you become calm and experience inner peace. It’s like turning on an inner light, which in turn helps you to see and reduce the obstacles within yourself. With enough light, whenever you are up against a challenge or in an unbearable situation, the answer or way out is revealed.

Below are a few basic workplace tips for increasing mindfulness:

» 1) Breathe. Take full, long, deep breaths. Learn to pull the air in through your diaphragm so that your belly expands and your lungs fill deeply. Give the air a few seconds to settle between each breath.

» 2) Focus. When your mind wanders off into a thought or an emotion, gently bring it back to the breath. This is returning to moment-to-moment awareness of the present. Attune to the rhythm of your breath and listen for the sound of inner peace. You will begin to hear it as your clutter-filled thoughts are gently swept away.

» 3) Adaptability. As you breathe deeply feel yourself bending like a willow in a soft breeze adapting to spontaneous and unexpected changes in your environment. Stay with your breath and notice how sensations, thoughts, emotions and insights are continually rising and falling away. Let them.

Practicing mindfulness simplifies all aspects of living and leads to clarity. When dedicated to its practice, it cuts through confusion allowing you to regroup, reorganize and find balance within yourself and your work environment. The feeling of overwhelm falls away and productivity increases.

Are you willing to breathe new life into your business? Who knows? Overall, the simple art of breathing might just be the answer to a better world.

Susan Ann Darley is a creativity coach and business writer who works with entrepreneurs and artists from all disciplines to build, manage and market their careers. Click here for more information, or contact her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.845.3036. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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