We asked Clinical Psychologist, Dr Rachel Chin, for her thoughts on mindfulness and how you can get started with a short exercise to improve your concentration, performance and bring calm into your everyday and professional life.
As a Clinical Psychologist, I am extremely passionate about enhancing emotional resilience and psychological well-being. I specialise in supporting organisations to develop and maintain a culture which prioritises and nurtures employee well-being by drawing on interventions from a range of evidenced-based therapies and practices including mindfulness.
Mindfulness is paying attention to what is happening in the present moment; in the mind, body and environment, with an attitude of curiosity and kindness. This moment-by-moment awareness allows us to choose what is helpful for us to focus on, experience or do, rather than living our lives on autopilot. By engaging in mindfulness exercises on a regular basis we can train our minds to become really present, so we can respond wisely. Research suggests short but regular practice can lead to many positive outcomes including:
- Increased awareness
- Improved well-being
- Reduced anxiety, depression, irritability and stress
- Improved sleep
- Improved relationships
- Increased concentration
- Improved performance
- Enhanced creativity
Using the list above as a guide I invite you to consider what are your current motivations for practice? You could always start by trying a short mindfulness of breath exercise like the one below.
Two minute mindfulness of breath
Set a timer for two minutes and find a comfortable seated position which helps you to feel focused and aware. If you wish to you can lower your gaze or close your eyes. Bring your attention to your breath. Notice what your breath is like right now. You could try placing the palm of your hand onto your tummy or chest and observe how your body moves as you breathe. Your mind may wander away from your breath – thinking, daydreaming, planning or remembering. This is okay. At this point just try and bring your attention back to your breath without judging yourself. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to bring it back. When the two minutes is up slowly open your eyes and bring your awareness to your surroundings. Your breath can tell you so much about how you feel. It can be helpful to tune into it at regular points throughout the day. If you have a little more time you could extend this exercise and try lengthening the inhale and exhale which can activate your soothing system, helping you to feel calmer and relaxed.
For more information on how you can support your own well-being and the well-being of your team please visit Dr Chin’s website.