What is mindfulness? It is a question that will get you many different answers. Mindfulness to me is having moment-by-moment awareness and focusing on the details that make up our lives. It’s ignoring our predisposed rigid mindsets and challenging the status quos. As cliché as it sounds, it’s training your brain to think, “outside of the box.” It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings:
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
I think we often forget that our brain is a muscle, and it can be trained and exercised similarly to other parts of our body. Often our brain goes into mindless mode and we go through life on autopilot.
How often have you driven home from work and you do not remember the commute at all? Have you ever pulled into your driveway and awoke from a daze thinking, “how did I get here?” Have you ever driven to work accidentally on a Saturday because you feel preprogrammed into your set routines? I know I have, and I think it’s a common thing we’ve all done. If you have any of your own “mindless” story please share it below!
I know one of my biggest problems is with my memory. From grocery lists, to errands, to my “honey-do” list, if it’s not written down, my brain simply cannot keep up with all of the daily demands thrown at it.
These are only a few examples, but with the mindfulness techniques I have been practicing I am more mentally present to my wife, my employer, and everyone around me. I have found my mind drifts less, and I am more focused and efficient in everything I do.
By setting aside time each day to allow your mind and body to clear and reset you can increase your focus throughout the day. When most people are asked to set aside 20-30 minutes for their breath meditations, they claim up and down that they do not have time. YOU DO HAVE THE TIME. Think of all the time you waste as your mind drifts off focus, or wanders from task to task.
When it comes to my own mindful meditations I like to think of a dirty kitchen. How many of you cannot start cooking in a messy kitchen? I know I can’t. I must first clean and straighten up my kitchen and then everything is ready for me to measure, prepare, and cook. I think of mindfulness the same way. I am cleaning up and organizing my thoughts 20 minutes per day, in order to have a “clean kitchen” in order to get my work done faster.
Would you trade 20 minutes per day to have more energy, to be more purposeful and focused, and to increase your efficiency throughout the day? If you wouldn’t do that, what would you be willing to trade for it?