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5 Reasons You're Having a Hard Time Being Mindful - Mindful

https://www.mindful.org/5-reasons-youre-hard-time-mindful/

mindful.org

5 Reasons You're Having a Hard Time Being Mindful - Mindful
Think your brain just isn't made for mindfulness? Think again. Busy mind, scattered focus, more to do than you can handle? Join the club. Every time I talk about mindfulness, I hear: "My brain is way too busy to be mindful." "My ADD is so bad; I just can't focus."

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Understanding mindfulness

Understanding mindfulness

One of the reasons mindfulness seems hard is the fact that you don't understand it. Mindfulness doesn't mean perfect focus and happiness at all times.

Mindfulness is about choosing to focus your attention on the present moment, about noticing when your mind wanders and bringing it back to what’s right in front of you.

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Be curious

Be curious

If you want to get better at practicing mindfulness, don't forget to be curious.

Sometimes the details of daily life aren’t all that enjoyable. Traffic is boring, and your colleague at work is annoying. But what if we stop wishing reality was different and got curious about it? We might not miss our freeway exit. And we’d learn that our coworker is going through a messy divorce. Life would feel a little bit easier.

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Don't set unrealistic expectations

Don't set unrealistic expectations

If you're struggling with mindfulness, maybe you’re making it bigger than it needs to be.

You can notice a wandering mind in the shower or while you’re drinking your coffee. You can take a deep breath before you hit send or snap at your spouse. And you can remember that no matter how spacey, forgetful, impulsive, or reactive you’ve been, you can always begin again.

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Your mood matters

Your mood matters

Don't practice being mindful only when you're upset.

While mindfulness can certainly be helpful in difficult moments, our brains have a hard time learning or doing something new when they’re under stress. The more you practice paying attention to the present moment when you’re calm and happy, the easier and more effective it’ll be when you’re freaking out.

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Ask for support

Ask for support

Our brains are wired to think, worry, remember, predict, plan, and regret. Mindfulness asks us to swim against the tide of these mental habits. 

We need support in this practice, with books, lectures, classes, and conversations with like-minded friends.

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Mindfulness at work

Mindfulness at work

Means being consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state. 

If you’re writing a report, mindfulness requires...

1 min/session

That’s the minimum required for a mini-mediation.

Just focus on your sense. You don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down.

Use Mindful Reminders

You can use interruptions as hooks to make you more mindful.

Every time your phone rings, take a mindful breath. Every time you hear the ping of a text message, pause to be mindful of your surroundings rather than immediately reacting by checking the message. 

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Anxiety is rewarding

Each time we worry and nothing bad happens, our mind connects worry with preventing harm:

Worry → nothing bad happens.

And the takeaway is, "It's a good thing I worried."&nbs...

Beliefs about worry

  • If I worry, I'll never have a bad surprise.
  • It's safer if I worry. We believe that the act of worrying itself somehow lowers the likelihood of a dreaded outcome. 
  • I show I care by worrying. We need to distinguish between caring about a situation and worrying needlessly and fruitlessly about it. 
  • Worrying motivates me. We need to differentiate between unproductive worry and productive concern and problem solving.
  • Worrying helps me solve problems. Extreme worry is more likely to interfere with problem-solving. 

Tools to assist us with worry

  • Calm the nervous system with guided muscle relaxation, meditation, and exercise. 
  • Notice when you're worrying and any beliefs that reinforce worry.  Awareness of the process gives us more choice in how we respond.
  • Embrace uncertainty. Most of the things we care about in life involve uncertainty. It takes considerable practice to begin to embrace it.
  • Live in the present. Practice focusing your attention on the present in everyday activities like taking a shower, walking, or talking with a friend, as well as in more formal practices like meditation or yoga.
  • When we face our fears head-on, they tend to diminish. Deliberately accept what you're afraid of: "It's possible I'll miss my flight." 

Self-awareness and Observation

The practice of mindfulness meditation promotes self-awareness. It starts with concentration and observation. Observation is to notice without judgment or interpretation. It demands a form of obje...

Detachment

Detachment is the key to effective observation. In mindfulness practice, it requires that you become an observer of yourself. In order to do that, you have to learn to split your attention.

Great leaders are great observers

Modern leadership depends on relationships. Meaningful relationships emerge when you know and understand each other. Observing others is essential for effective communication, interpersonal skills, influencing people,  managing group dynamics, and getting buy-in.