BrainAdvizor-blog-cover-mind-fast-mindfulness-self-regulation-jason-potvin

Is your mind filling up fast or are you slowing down for mindfulness?

Is your mind filling up fast or are you slowing down for mindfulness?

How fast is your mind filling up at work? Decisions, to-dos, risks, stresses, anxieties, finances… They all add up fairly fast and the only question I’m most interested in is, “are you slowing down for mindfulness?” Are you actively making the time to practice mindfulness at work?

One thing that I started becoming aware of is that feeling of how time speeds up the older we get. Like how the gravitational force of a black hole pulls more intensely the closer you get to it. Growing up means more and more responsibility and, wow, responsibility can stack higher than pancakes. The days are flying by too. Halloween is this weekend and next thing you know Christmas will be at our doorstep. So what can we do to slow time down along with our stress and anxieties? Hmmm.

Well, we can’t actually stop time unless we are some Superpowered human like DC’s The Flash. Even then, it would be a flashpoint disaster if we ever messed with time. However, mindfulness is actually a stellar way to slow down our perception of time and that is good enough for me. What I love to do and inspire others to do at work is to make mindful breathing practices a part of their day-to-day routines.

Taking anywhere from 2-10 minutes a day to slow down the monkey mind and regain access to your whole brain has some serious workplace wellbeing benefits. When your mind is full, you can barely focus. Try hitting the target you want when you are busy scanning and judging the conditions of 20 other moving targets, all at the same time. Unless you are an elite Olympic shooter with a souped-up guidance system, chances are, your success at hitting the target you want will be slim to none.

Practicing Mindfulness Meditation

Everyone is saying, “I can’t focus”, but how many are saying that after they have calmed their mind down? Not many that I talk to, that’s for sure. The more successful people I speak with or read about, the more all fingers point to the same power tool, meditation. Do a YouTube search on actors like Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) or athletes like Kobe Bryant to watch how their secret to success is also meditation. Mindful meditation is that portal to calm your mind down, set yourself up for the day you want to have and be 100% present.

One CIO I work with loves this practice and uses the mobile application, Headspace, to help them along with the guided practice. For those who have not yet tried a guided mindful breathing practice, please, try this simple body scan practice as a starter. When you click the link an audio file will start and guide you on a mindfulness journey for 8 minutes and 15 seconds. The guided breathing meditation allows you to enjoy an experience of moment-to-moment, non-judgmental and energized awareness, anywhere, anytime.

This free practice is available thanks to a brilliant researcher named Dr. Richard J. Davidson, Shilagh Mirgain (guide) and the friendly folks at the Center for Healthy Minds in the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Dr. Davidson has contributed immensely to the study of mindfulness through his neuroscience research involving impressive methods such as using different varieties of MRI, positron emission tomography, electroencephalography and modern genetic and epigenetic testing.

There are tones of free meditations out there on the web and I empower you to find one that works for you. It is always key to have any practice be a “fit” for you personally. Maybe you like a forest background? Maybe you want unguided? Just ask google for now and we will get on producing our own to share as well.

Trust in the Science

Remember, this is all scientific. Research has discovered that training with meditation boosts our left frontal activity in the brain. This area is associated with positive mood, as well as, decreasing activity in the amygdala, the part related to stress and anxiety. Sounds like more workplace wellbeing to me. Woohoo!

Other known research benefits from mindfulness practices include:

  • Stronger immune function
  • Stronger social relationships
  • Less stress, depression and anxiety
  • More happiness and wellbeing

The secret to eternal youth

One of my favourite researchers on mindfulness is Dr. Ellen Langer, social psychologist and the first female professor to gain tenure in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. She introduced some mind-blowing studies in 1979 when she began experimenting to find out if modifying thought patterns, by being more mindful, could slow down the ageing process. Drum roll please…. Yes. It can! Dr. Langer’s studies have been replicated with the same successful results in the US, the UK and South Korea.

There is a fascinating documentary which re-stages her “CounterClockwise” experiments in a production by the BBC called, “The Young Ones”. The documentary takes 6 popularly loved celebrities from Britain and experiments with them using the same conditions as Dr. Langer’s CounterClockwise study. It is a brilliant production and the results are shocking. They do, indeed, get younger.

I hope this explains a bit more about the massive topic we now call Mindfulness. I equally hope that you believe in the tremendous value-add that this self-regulation practice can offer you for workplace wellbeing. It may feel impossible at first to build 10 minutes into your day for meditation, however, what if those ten minutes save you an hour out of your whole day because you are thinking more clearly and calmly? What if practising for several weeks saves you from getting a cold then knocks you out for a week? Truth is, you won’t know until you practice right? Try it out at a lunch hour or in between stressful meetings. Give it a go while on public transit or sitting in your parked car.

Bottom line, if a Hollywood actor, a pro basketball player and a CIO can fit mindful meditation into their workdays, so can you. I believe in you!

Enough about me. What do you think of me and my perspectives? Lol.😉Please, let me know your feedback or questions by using the comments on our social media channel of your choice. 

Much love, light and self regulation.

Jason

Always be Self Regulating

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