As with many fads that infiltrate American pop culture— the Zone diet, 8-Minute abs, high-waisted jeans— people impulsively buy-in without a deep understanding of why. We are social animals and signing onto a trend connects us to the larger tribe. Mindfulness seems like it could be one of those fads right now. Recently, a friend said she saw “mindful mayo” at Whole Foods… What does that even mean?! Did the mayo meditate before being put in the jar? Whether that report was credible or not, there is something to be said for making informed decisions, especially when it comes to something that pertains to your well-being.
HERE’S WHAT I’VE COME TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT MINDFULNESS:
- It’s been around for 2500+ years.
- Mindfulness has roots in spiritual practice, but, in the West, it is practiced primarily on a secular basis.
- Practicing mindfulness is an activity on being present, which is insanely hard for our mind to do.
- When you sit and pay attention to what your experience is like in THAT moment, and in the NEXT moment, you might learn something about yourself and the themes that arise in your mind.
- In that learning, you might increase your skill at focusing and refocusing.
- Having the ability to filter through distraction and return to the present moment is EVERYTHING.
Think about the last time you experienced joy. Were you consumed by worries of what could go wrong in the future, or distracted by what went wrong in the past? I’ll answer for you: No, you weren’t. You were fully engaged at the moment, without a care other than just being in it for the sake of the experience. It might sound odd, but we can have that experience more often. Joy happens in the present moment. Our mind wants to take us away from the present moment, so when we spend a few minutes a day, practicing being aware of distraction and returning our attention back to, let’s say, your breath, you are training your ability to focus and refocus.
JOY IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF ENHANCING THAT SKILL
Equally important: peak performance requires present moment focus. You have likely spent thousands of hours training and honing your craft to be able to execute your job every day, but you still get distracted. How good are you at recognizing distraction, letting go, and getting back to the task? Research suggests, most of us aren’t very good at that. In fact, we spend close to half of our day mind-wandering. If we want to access all of the training we have done to be skilled at our jobs or personal lives, we need our minds to be focused on the here and now. That’s just how it works.
When we look at the research on the benefits of training mindfulness, such as enhanced performance in high-intensity situations, greater stress and emotion regulation, and better parenting skills, there is reason to believe that mindfulness is more than just a fad. It might just be the one thing to start doing to feel more alive and to feel more like a badass within the areas you care most about. There’s nothing fashionable or trendy about that— it’s actually what most humans are searching for: joy, meaning, and progression.
If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness, really digging deep into the practice, and uncovering more joy in your life, sign up for our Finding Your Best course today!
Live and love curiously,