Running your own business is challenging. You are always ‘on’. While passion and the thrill of succeeding and delivering over and above to your customers keeps you going, it is so important to make time for your own wellbeing.
Before looking into how to introduce mindfulness into your daily life, we first need to understand what mindfulness is and, more importantly, what mindlessness is.
Have you ever driven to a meeting, or home from a function or even to a friend’s place, and had very little recollection of the actual drive? Most of us can relate to this and, in its most basic terms, this mindlessness is simply us operating on ‘autopilot’. Our minds are wandering, and we are not truly present.
Busy lives, hectic schedules, deadlines, the general pressures of everyday life push us into this ‘mode’, which often means that we are not ‘stopping to smell the roses’, so to speak. We are not taking in the beauty that surrounds us, we are not noticing the moments, people and experiences that make life incredible.
However, beyond this surface level of missing what’s important, our automatic routine often prevents us from listening to our body when it tells us to slow down or stop, which can lead to burnout.
What mindfulness is
Mindfulness is the complete opposite of this state. It is all about embracing the present, focusing on your awareness of your surroundings in the moment and calmly acknowledging your thoughts, feelings and sensations as a therapeutic technique.
It is all about refocusing and really ‘living’ – paying attention on purpose. Being more aware and appreciating what is around you is simple and does not need to be time consuming, but even the smallest effort can make an incredible difference to your energy levels and, in turn, your behaviour.
It is all about refocusing and really ‘living’ – paying attention on purpose.
Meditation and mindfulness are often awkward terms for people who do not understand their power and depth. But they are not just words used by yogis, hippies, or others leading an alternative lifestyle. Be mindful enough to give this a go, even if only for a week, to see the difference it can make to you and your life.
Below I have shared some simple tips on how to introduce mindfulness into your life that can slot into your current lifestyle.
Use your commute
Do you really need to be thumbing through emails on your phone on your way to the office? Can you spare 10–20 minutes to focus on yourself? HeadSpace is a powerful app designed to assist you to live a happier, healthier life with just a few minutes of focused ‘you time’ a day.
Use everyday experiences
You do not need to sit with your legs crossed and eyes closed. Mindfulness is just about being aware. Embrace your surroundings on your morning walk or during your lunch break – look at what flowers are blossoming, the changing colours of the autumn leaves. Make the effort to focus on the world around you. Any routine activity can be included in the practice of mindfulness as long as you bring your full attention to it.
Focus on yourself as a mindfulness exercise. Think about your breathing – is it fast or slow? Are you thirsty? Sleepy? What sounds can you hear if you really listen?
The above are very simple introductory techniques.
It will take some time to extend your focus and concentration so do not be too hard on yourself while you are retraining and strengthening your mind. Notice when your thoughts start to wander – this is part of the process. Gently steer them back to where they should be. Like anything, the more you practise the more you will improve and find which techniques work for you.
Read more about mindfulness in The mindful billionaire.