Mindfulness for Busy Professionals

You’ve heard about the benefits of mindfulness. You think it’s a good idea. Yet how can you find the time?

Image credit: Larissa Rolley

Image credit: Larissa Rolley

First, let’s understand what being mindful means. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneer in teaching mindfulness in the West, defines mindfulness as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

That definition shows you don’t need big chunks of time to meditate, although a meditation practice is a great way to develop mindfulness. Being mindful happens in the moment.

Start by intending to have more moments of mindfulness during each day. Becoming more mindful takes practice, and remember that mindfulness includes being non-judgmental!

Here are five tips to help you have more daily moments of mindfulness:

1.   Start your day with three deep breaths, paying full attention to them. Put a reminder note on the bathroom mirror. Consider ways you can take about five or ten minutes of quiet time. You can meditate, pay attention to your breathing, or write in a journal about everything you appreciate in your life.

2.   Plan your day leaving enough time to account for unexpected events. For example, give yourself a few extra minutes for your commute to lessen the aggravation of heavy traffic and help you arrive at work with a sense of calm. When the unexpected happens, pause, take a deep breath, and then decide on the best course of action.

3.   Use part of your lunch break for a mindfulness practice of five to ten minutes. You can go for a slow walk and observe how your feet feel as they touch the ground. Or find a quiet place to meditate, using a meditation app if you like. Another practice is to eat your lunch alone, in silence, no devices, chewing slowing and noticing the detailed taste and texture of the food.

4.   Create reminders. When you’re busy it can be easy to forget mindfulness. Create reminders to be mindful during routine work tasks or to take short breaks to refresh. For example, you can use sticky notes in places you’ll notice or a reminder on your computer.

5.   Stop and breathe. If you feel hectic and scattered, stop for a minute and take several deep breaths. Return to the task at hand with your full attention.

As you include mindfulness in your life, you may experience more of a sense of calm about what you previously considered annoying aspects of life. Enjoy!