When life is busy, it’s easy to rush around on autopilot and miss enjoying moments as they occur.
Slowing down enough, and deliberately taking pauses through the day, will help us stay connected with what we are doing and who is around us, rather than watching, as if from outside, with the sense that the day is rushing past.
This can be hard to do when we are juggling multiple, demanding tasks in a busy workplace, of course. The challenge is to find routines or rituals that remind us and help us pause.
This deliberate practice of staying fully engaged is called “mindfulness”. There is a body of strong scientific research to show that practising mindfulness brings a host of benefits. Recent studies have shown it is particularly effective at improving recovery from stress and fatigue.
To get started, try this simple mindfulness exercise:
One minute of mindfulness
Check your watch and note the time. For the next 60 seconds, your task is to focus all your attention on your breathing. It’s just for one minute, but it can seem like a long time! Leave your eyes open and breathe normally. Be ready to catch your mind from wandering off (because it will) and return your attention to your breathing whenever it does so.
Don’t be discouraged if you find this hard to do. It takes some people many months or years of practice before they are able to complete a single minute of alert, clear attention.
Use this exercise as many times as you can throughout the day to bring your mind to the present moment and to restore your mind to clarity.
Over time, you can gradually extend the duration of this exercise into longer and longer periods.