Mindfulness (“Achtsamkeit” in German) is nothing new. It has been practiced over centuries. However, during the last decade scientific research has taken mindfulness outside the spiritual realm by demonstrating its beneficial effects on performance and wellbeing. Today it is a daily practice in many companies and homes.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is often misunderstood as a spiritual practice, a visualisation or relaxation exercise. Even though relaxation can be one of the positive results of a mindfulness exercise, it’s not its central aim.
Mindfulness can be understood as “choiceless awereness”: It’s being fully present in the current moment. Being deliberately aware of your surroundings, what you are directly experiencing via your senses and what is happing inside yourself. It it important that this is done without making judgments about what you observe, or what you “should” or “want” to observe.
Why training Mindfulness?
Growing research show that when you train your brain to be mindful, you can actually change the physical structure and functional connections of your brain. However, as with any skill, you have to train it regularly and correctly if you want to become better at it.
Mindfulness can be practiced in 2 ways: as a meditation practice and as a skill integrated in your daily activities. For example, during an important business meeting you can use it as a tool to regulate your stress response and to increase your active listening ability. It’s creating a state of mind where you are fully aware of what is going on. This will help you to make more sound decisions and solve problems in a more creative and collaborate way. Integrated in a company’s culture it contributes to an atmosphere of trust and non-judgmental listening. As such, it positively effects the work environment and productivity.
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