“It doesn’t matter what the other is being, doing, having, saying, wanting, demanding. It doesn’t matter what the other is thinking, expecting, planning. It only matters what you are being in relationship to that.”
-Neale Donald Walsch
I took to pause, reflect and introspect at the months gone by filled with restrictions, lockdowns, the bombardment of news and social media, consuming and creating content. These months brought a myriad of emotions, little joys, seeing friends briefly, and still, the primary form of communication is through a screen – virtual meetings, phone calls, and messages. Joys shared through screenshots, beaming with smiles over a phone call, tears over a phone call – not being able to hug or hold someone. The one skill and way of being that has helped me is through it is Mindfulness. Mindfulness has helped me to be in the here and now and enhance my self-awareness and self-regulation. Mindfulness fuels empathy, resilience, and joy – all of which help us adapt, thrive, and evolve.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is consciously creating that space between stimulus and our response; it can be any in any scenario – at home, with our friends, spouses, at work, in a leadership role, or with our clients.
Some people have a calm aura, humility, grace and are grounded because they create and increase that space between the external stimulus and how they choose to respond. It is honoring our mind and body, staying attuned to ourselves, checking in our emotions, and adjusting accordingly.
The exact opposite of mindfulness is to rush around the day or task and not be aware of our feelings or consider the feelings of others.
It is simply taking a step back and being in the moment. When was the last time you felt the warmth of the sun’s rays on your face or gazed at the full moon, or the twinkling stars or the sunset over the horizon or the sunrise, or the sky in pretty colors or have that cup of tea or coffee in silence absorbing the moment and re-charging before kick-starting the day?
Why is Mindfulness important?
Our world is constantly changing, and we often find ourselves rushing through the day, the month, the meeting, or the conversation. In this era of instant messaging, we are constantly multitasking and checking our phones and expect instant replies and prompt answers. Life can sometimes be exhausting, hectic, and overwhelming.
Our worldview gets hazy. We tend to feel burnt out. Most importantly, our ability to be present and in the here and now is gone. We plan our schedule while cooking or make calls while commuting to save time. And plan our weekend while eating. We stay glued to our screens to ‘save time’ when someone tries to communicate with us or share something important.
Does this sound like an everyday struggle at times? Or have you ever fallen into the trap of overthinking and letting your thoughts run haywire? I have. Or that one ‘what if’ playing in the background the whole time in your brain?
It affects our communication, productivity, entrepreneurship, business, happiness, work, study, and life in general. Overthinking ruins happiness and creates problems that don’t even exist in the first place. It takes away everything from this very moment. So, what can we do about this? The answer lies in being mindful. Mindfulness Matters!
When we choose to be mindful, we choose happiness, joy, creativity, focus, productivity, and clarity. It also reduces stress levels. Mindfulness is scientifically proven to rewire our brains. It helped me to reduce my racing thoughts, overthinking, self-doubt, and all the what-ifs.
We learn how to stop and smell the roses. We see beauty in everyday moments, little things, and gestures.
Mindfulness does not change what happens to us or the situation; it changes how we respond. It creates a space between the stimulus and response. As this profound quote by Victor Frankl illuminates;
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
We choose how we want to act, think, feel and behave, and enhance our self-image. Being mindful is also an opportunity to grow, bloom and evolve in life.
Benefits of Mindfulness:
- Mindfulness enhances our focus and clarity
- Mindfulness can help us cope with feelings of anxiousness
- Mindfulness improves interpersonal relationships
- Mindfulness builds empathy for self and others
- Mindfulness helps us to reframe negative thoughts and not believe all our thoughts
- Mindfulness reduces overthinking and living either in the past or the future
- Mindfulness helps us to nurture our relationships by paying attention, accepting, and appreciating others
- Mindfulness helps us carve moments of joy, and this fuels resilience and our ability to cope with change and bounce back after setbacks
- Mindfulness helps us avoid judgment and allows things and situations to be
- Mindfulness improves and enhances creativity and problem-solving
Techniques and Ways to Practice Mindfulness:
Mindfulness can be practiced any time during the day to bring our focus and energy back to the present moment and create a sense of calm.
- Deep breathing
- Keep a gratitude and self-awareness journal.
- Engage in physical activity – walks, runs, or dance
- Colour, Paint, or Doodle
- Cook and savour the different fragrances, textures, and colours of food
- Use grounding techniques
- Create a daily morning and night ritual
- Allow the emotions to pass.
Stay in the here and now and smell the roses along the way!
Quote 1: https://quotefancy.com/quote/872095/Neale-Donald-Walsch-It-doesn-t-matter-what-the-other-is-being-doing-having-saying-wanting
Quote 2: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/8144491-between-stimulus-and-response-there-is-a-space-in-that