Posted by Howe Q. Wallace on Friday, April 25th, 2014
I was listening to consultant Maria Gonzalez talk about “mindfulness.”
She proposes the idea that if you develop the “skill” of mindfulness that you will see your stress levels go down. Who doesn’t appreciate less stress?
I found it interesting that she called “mindfulness” a skill. Being a skill means that you somehow “do” mindful. She described it this way:
Mindfulness is the skill of being fully present and fully aware. You are mindful when you pay attention to the things happening in your environment as compared to the talk going on inside your head.
Good listening is an example of mindfulness. A good listener concentrates on the speaker and focuses on what’s being said. The goal is to understand what the speaker says. A poor listener will be preparing a response while waiting his turn to speak.
Smelling the roses is mindful. Some people miss the aroma as they pass through the garden, distracted by their thoughts. A person who is mindful takes in the beauty and makes time to notice as well as appreciate.
Gonzalez said the mindful have a sense of equanimity. It’s the ability to be aware of a situation and develop a realistic assessment of what’s happening. Realism drives out fear and anxiety that causes stress.
Gonzalez says we can all improve our concentration. She says it develops like a muscle.
To hone your concentration, work it out. Create opportunities to work on concentration. If your concentration is poor, try concentrating for 25 seconds. Repeat it often.
As you repeat and practice, you will see times extended. You will see your concentration span expand. Your ability to pay attention grows. Your ability to read the environment expands.
Hey! You become more mindful.
I want to be known as a mindful person. I want my colleagues to feel well heard. I want us to be able to diagnose situations well. I want our diagnosis to lead to well conceived actions that yield good results. I want our record of success at solving problems to be our identity.