The mindful state
The key to mindfulness is understanding that you have a malleable mind. The brain on a biological level is always in a state of becoming, moving, expanding. You may have heard the term neuroplasticity. This word points to the scientific understanding of the mind as being elastic – our neural pathways are connecting and being pruned on a daily basis, in response to the connections we are making, emotions coming up and challenges. We all have the power within us to be mindful – where we have true control over our thoughts.
How do we become more mindful when we feel stuck in so many ways?
To put it simply, our habits start as neural connections in the brain and are reinforced or pruned back daily depending on our actions. The process runs automatically, whether we give it our attention or not. Our repetitive thoughts, fears and habits start and end in our mind.
Something as simple as introducing flossing into our dental routine becomes a habit with repetition, but it all starts with mindfulness. That is, our decision to be mindful of our daily habits. It might be a trip to the dentist, a reminder from a friend or the visual cue of discovering unused floss in the cabinet that starts the habit in the first place. It is the repetition that however that strengthens our neurology around the habit and eventually will make it an unconscious part of the daily routine.
Mindfulness is the practice of being in a neutral state of observation, without emotion and without judgment.
It allows the higher mind to make observations at a distance by having the space to evaluate what is occurring. The mind does this naturally in many ways. You might notice that in public spaces your mind naturally goes into a state of observation with nature, animals and other people. Usually, as the observations involve strangers, the mindful state simply watches with little or no emotion until something happens to trigger a reaction. For instance, if someone is lost or injured, emotions may be engaged as you move into a more active state.
Mindfulness as a daily practice will bring peace, clarity and solutions to you at work. Often taking a short walk or listening to music is enough to trigger a more mindful state. The more you become aware that your mind is malleable, you will be able to enter the neutral zone and allow the magic of observation to create the space for solutions to come to mind. Mindfulness is a muscle that is easy to develop with so many positive outcomes.
Concentrate on these new habits to get your mind into neutral:
- Slow down and eat your lunch more mindfully to give yourself the space to enjoy taste and texture.
- When in nature, tune into your senses more to become more present with the experience by noticing sights, sounds, fragrance and texture.
- Ask open questions of colleagues, not directly involved with your project
- Listen more thoughtfully to your colleagues without jumping in with your waiting thoughts.
- Start to become aware of your emotions as they come up in different situations, question whether they are useful or effective and allow them to pass.
- Start a daily meditation habit by downloading 1GiantMind.
It is our emotional investment in ideas and our attachment to controlling the outcome that blocks many good ideas. There would have been times at work where you had a difficult problem and found the solution in a mindful state. Perhaps you discussed it with an outside party to gain a neutral perspective or gave the idea breathing room until the right way came to mind.
The practice of consciously entering a neutral state will allow the space for solutions to enter.
Emotions are often the ego’s way of overanalyzing the problem and controlling an outcome.
The practice of mindfulness creates space for innovation and creativity to flourish. It also opens the way for others to express their opinions in a neutral space of greater possibility. It also frees the mind of the habit of over-analysis and allows greater opportunities for more elegant solutions.
The practice of mindfulness frees your mind to find its perfect set point of function in neutral comfort, free from the mental chatter and captivity of emotion. Release yourself from the pressure by allowing yourself to be more mindful throughout the day in little ways and over time, it will become your dominant state more and more.
How can you allow mindfulness more into your daily routine?
How can you become a better listener?
How can you be more neutral and allow the space of observation and solution to open up?