With Christmas less than two weeks away and the New Year right behind it, many people are running themselves ragged as they rush to complete year-end work duties and prepare for family celebrations. Add in flu season, rainy weather and increased traffic from holiday shoppers, and you have a perfect recipe for stress and illness! Fortunately there is an antidote to this insanity—and it doesn’t cost any money. This year, give yourself a present that is relaxing and life-enriching: introduce the practice of mindfulness into your daily routine.
The Mindfulness Revolution
From the cover of Time Magazine to the television show 60 Minutes, mindfulness is moving rapidly to the forefront of our culture. Simply stated, mindfulness consists of being still and alert in the present moment. It is about paying acute attention to what is going on right now—not dissecting the past or worrying about the future. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we often rush from one meeting to the next, totally focused on the next thing on our “to do” lists. Mindfulness offers a way out of this trap—an opportunity to restore balance and to experience inner peace, regardless of what is going on in the present moment.
Modern mindfulness practices follow in the tradition of ancient Eastern spiritualism, but they are deliberately distanced from specific religious or spiritual teachings. Therefore, mindfulness is accessible to people of all backgrounds. Furthermore, it has rich applications for the workplace.
Learning to be Mindful
Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, at any time, even while walking, eating, or driving. It actually takes less than a minute to become mindful. During your first experience with mindfulness or meditation, you will likely find thoughts and emotions arising frequently and interrupting your focus. This is perfectly normal. When you notice yourself becoming distracted, simply redirect your attention to something in the present moment—your breath, or a simple object in the room with you.
The Benefits of Being Mindful
Learning how to center yourself through conscious breathing and stilling of the mind can have a profound impact in your personal life and in your work. As science continues to study the connection between brief meditation and stress reduction, numerous individuals have reported significant improvements after practicing mindfulness. For example, quieting your own mind enables you to focus on other people and listen deeply to them. Furthermore, mindfulness will help you achieve clarity and perspective regarding difficult and unpleasant situations—rarely are things as bad (or as important) as they seem in the moment.
All of us at Menlo Partners wish you a relaxing and fulfilling holiday season with a minimum of stress and worry! We are available throughout the month of December to job seekers as well as to Silicon Valley companies with hiring.