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Mindfulness - Part 1: What Is It? How Does It Affect Your Personal Life?

Posted by Vy Huynh on Oct 20, 2014 10:30:00 AM

mindfulnessIn recent years, people have been talking a lot about mindfulness and mindful meditation and how it has a positive impact upon our lives.

So What Is Mindfulness?

A definition on Wikipedia suggests that “Mindfulness is the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment.”

Another definition on PsychologyToday.com indicates that “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

At the second International Talent Assessment and Development Conference, Deiric McCann—Vice President of Profiles International—presented “Mindful Leadership,” in which he shared some other definitions of mindfulness. The first is his own:

Mindfulness is a systematic cultivation of awareness, including self-awareness, that is intentional, non-judgemental in the present moment.

Mindfulness is being in the here and now, being present, being mindful. It is not being lost in thought, distracted, or overwhelmed by difficult emotions.”—Andy Puddicombe

Deiric also indicated that you are mindless when:

  • You’re on auto-pilot.
  • The past is determining your present behaviour.
  • You are working off old information and living in the past.
  • You’re blind to the current context and changes from the past.

And you are mindful when:

  • You are situated in the present.
  • Your responses are to current information and sensitive to the current context.
  • You can choose to be guided by rules based on the past, but are sensitive to current information.
  • You are, by definition, engaged.

Recent studies have shown that mindfulness has a positive impact upon people’s personal lives and their work performance. In part one of this series, we’ll look at how mindfulness affects your personal life and why you should practise it.

  • Mindfulness is good for our bodies: Practising mindful meditation boosts our immune systems’ ability to fight off illness.
  • describe the imageMindfulness is good for our minds: Several studies have found that mindfulness increases positive emotions while reducing negative emotions and stress, and it may be as good as antidepressants in fighting depression and preventing relapse.
  • Mindfulness changes our brains: Research has found that it increases the density of grey matter in those brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy.
  • Mindfulness helps you focus: Studies suggest that mindfulness helps us tune out distractions and improves our memory and attention skills.
  • Mindfulness fosters compassion and altruism: Research suggests mindfulness makes us more likely to help someone in need and increases activity in neural networks involved in understanding the suffering of others and regulating emotions. Evidence suggests it might boost self-compassion as well.
  • Mindfulness enhances relationships: Research suggests mindfulness makes couples more satisfied with their relationships, makes each partner feel more optimistic and relaxed, and makes them feel more accepting of and closer to one another.
  • Mindfulness is good for parents and parents-to-be: Studies suggest it may reduce pregnancy-related anxiety, stress, and depression in expectant parents. Parents who practise mindfulness report being happier with their parenting skills and their relationships with their kids, and their kids were found to have better social skills.
  • Mindfulness helps schools: There’s scientific evidence that teaching mindfulness in the classroom reduces behaviour problems and aggression among students, and improves their happiness levels and ability to pay attention. Teachers trained in mindfulness also show lower blood pressure, less negative emotions, fewer symptoms of depression, and greater compassion and empathy.
  • Mindfulness helps health care professionals cope with stress, connect with their patients, and improve their general quality of life. It also helps mental health professionals by reducing negative emotions and anxiety, and increasing their positive emotions and feelings of self-compassion.
  • Mindfulness fights obesity: Practising “mindful eating” encourages healthier eating habits, helps people lose weight, and helps them savour the food they do eat

Source: greatergood.berkeley.edu and Mindful Leadership by Deiric McCann

That is the end of part one. In part two of this article, we will discuss how mindfulness has a positive impact upon work performance, especially for leaders.

Mindfulness - Part 2.1: How Does Mindfulness Affect Performance, Especially Leadership Performance? >>>

Opportunity to attend workshops "Mindful Leadership" and Leadership Chairsma" with Deiric McCann

On 11 & 12th September, 2014 at Pullman Saigon Center, HCMC, Vietnam, global assessment solutions provider, Profiles International South East Asia hosted Deiric McCann - Vice President of Profiles International, co-author of Leadership Charisma Book and author - to conduct Mindful Leadership and Leadership Charisma workshops.

Joining these workshops, participants:

  • Got a general understanding about mindfulness and charisma in Leadership

  • Learned the importance of mindfulness and charisma upon leaders' performance

  • Learned some tips to become a mindful leader or charismatic leader

If you would like to request to attend these workshop in Vietnam, don't hesitate to subscribe our blog page and send a request email to marketing@profiles-sea.com

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