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Why Mindfulness Works
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: mindfulness leadership attention google wellness

4 Reasons to Pay Attention

  1. Awareness is a human capability that is wonderful and remarkable and is very simple. We can shift our awareness from dull, distracted, and unfocused, to precise, awake, and open by willing to do so.
  2. When we pay attention we can create new neural connections. Neural connections help us think better and broader.
  3. Focusing our awareness increases our attention. When we pay attention we enhance learning. Learning helps us improve performance, effectiveness, and helps us avoid making the same mistakes over and over.
  4. Whatever we are experiencing becomes clearer if we simply shift our awareness to our breath and focus our attention inside ourselves. When we tune in to our inner state, we become more calm and relaxed. When we are calm and relaxed we are less triggered and can respond more appropriately, make better decisions, and see more of the big picture.

Defining Mindfulness
There are lots of meditation practices, and mindfulness has many branches. It has a specific meaning, and to be clear, here's how Dr. Daniel Siegel defines it: “Awareness of present-moment experience, with intention and purpose, without grasping onto judgments. Traits of being mindful are having an open stance toward oneself and others, emotional equanimity, and the ability to describe the inner world of the mind.”

Mindfulness is Practical
Mindfulness practices are practical and useful. With practice, our ability to shift our awareness increases and our attention becomes more concentrated. For the brain, mindfulness practice helps us integrate and understand new and complex information. It helps us be less reactive to whatever trigger we experience or is thrown at us. It helps us make better decisions when the stakes are high. MBSR has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve immune response, and enhance our empathy for others and ourselves.

MBSR in Business: Google, Target, FaceBook, & General Mills
The benefits of MBSR are being validated by brain research that is exploding all over the world. In business, mindfulness improves leadership capability; interpersonal relationships, team performance, and can enhance collective capacity dramatically.

Google believes this. It has a program that trains employees to practice mindfulness because mindfulness helps Google employees deal with the stress of their work lives and manage rapid and turbulent change. (NY Times, 4/28/12, http://goo.gl/FIdHZ)(Forbes 4/30/12  http://goo.gl/eUNpS)

As we learn about the brain, it makes more and more sense to understand its functioning and act to enhance it.

Give it a try …
As the best of my meditation teachers always say, don’t take my word for it. Really. Try breathing with awareness. Touch the breath in your belly, your chest or nose with your attention. Tune in, be sensitive to what the breath feels like in your body. It’s kind of miraculous in its simplicity. Even if one person practices, things will go better for everyone.

References & Resources

Essig, T. (2012). “Google teaches employees to search inside yourself.”  Forbes, April 30, 2012. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/eUNpS September 25, 2012.

Kelly, K. (2012). “O.K., Google, Take a Deep Breath.” NY Times, April 28, 2012. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/FIdHZ September 25, 2012.

Siegel, D. J. (2012). Pocket guide to interpersonal neurobiology: An integrative handbook of the mind. NY: Norton.

 

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