We all have heard the word “mindfulness”. It is quite a simple word with a simple definition that is as follows: Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are, what we’re doing and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us. At its simplest, it means to purposefully pay attention to the present. Mindfulness has become increasingly popular in the recent years, with studies highlighting its psychological, physiological and behavioural benefits.
Science behind mindfulness:
Mindfulness is an ancient concept that has gained significant attention in the current modern society. The definition of mindfulness seems quite straightforward. But, how many of us are able to practice it?
Mindfulness can be experienced through steady awareness and dedication. It is possible by observing and being in the present, being aware of all that is happening around us and accepting the emotions we experience without judgement. Research has sought to clarify the nature of mindfulness and its benefits.
Core concepts of mindfulness:
Mindfulness is a concept routed in Buddhism and other contemplative traditions. It involves conscious engagement with the present moment. Researchers have identified the core concepts of mindfulness as follows:
1. A present-focused awareness on purpose
2. Acceptance of what is, openness to what may come
3. Non-judgmental approach
4. Developing compassion for self and others
5. Energy of mindfulness
These concepts can be cultivated carefully when you start practicing them.
Practicing mindfulness in everyday life:
Practicing mindfulness in everyday life has been shown to have numerous benefits for individuals. It can be done by beginning to meditate, thereby slowly beginning to focus on every activity we do. Meditation helps one to focus.
One incident where mindfulness changed my life greatly was during my CA final exams. Previously, my mind would constantly swing like a pendulum – why was I unable to clear despite preparing well and why is it that everyone else cleared, how did they do it. I would continuously despair about the vastness of the syllabus, wonder how on earth would I be able to complete my preparation and revise before exams. One fine day, I had an epiphany – instead of dwelling on the past and worrying about the time I had lost, sulking about why it was not working out and getting anxious about how much I had to prepare for exams, I decided to be in the present, and complete my goals for each day. I stopped thinking about the others who had cleared. I concentrated my thoughts on preparing and writing the exams to my satisfaction. Once I started practicing this vigorously and focussing my actions towards it, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. I realized the importance of consistency. I started appreciating the power of having a set routine, which is very often ignored. Mindfulness taught me the importance of a good routine and how to follow it consistently.
I did my own SWOT (Strength – Weakness – Opportunities – Threats) Analysis. I noted down areas where I was strong enough and those which needed to be worked on. I identified the subjects I was confident about, and worked on them so as to secure exemptions which would also help me achieve the aggregate scores. One thing I learnt was that I cannot achieve expertise in every subject. I started meditating, and tried to adhere to a strict routine. I was consistent in attending classes, attending office, taking breaks while also not giving up on enjoying my ‘me time’.
My story of becoming a CA is not about failure or success. It is about how I changed my entire outlook and consequently my life after that. I started consistently practicing mindfulness of body, thoughts, actions, principles and feelings. Being mindful helps me calm my nerves and makes me believe I can do it, restores faith and energy within.
The continued infusion of mindfulness practice in daily activities not only helps in calming and reducing my stress levels, but also helps in improving my focus and attention, regulates my emotional outlook, intensifies self-awareness and improves my overall wellbeing.
While there are many benefits of practising mindfulness, it should be noted that mindfulness should not be practised solely for the purpose of achieving a specific outcome. Hundreds of authors have written thousands of books and articles about mindfulness, sometimes it becomes confusing as to what it actually is. One common misconception about mindfulness is that it can be practiced solely for a measurable benefit. Mindfulness is not necessarily an escape from the pain of our world. Consistent with the practice, research has proven that mindfulness can help in an overall improvement of physical and mental health. Growing evidence suggests it can have a variety of positive consequences like decrease in stress, better concentration, multitasking and increase in memory levels.
“When you’re quiet, everything settles on the floor of your mind like sediment in undisturbed still water” said, Megan Monahan. Maybe it’s time we start practising mindfulness instead of just thinking about what it could be.
About the Author – CA. Chithra V
Chithra V is a chartered accountant by profession.
An avid writer with passion for writing, she works in a private sector handling financial planning and analysis currently. When not handling numbers, she loves to get immersed in the magical world of books and aspires to inspire people with her poetries someday. She enjoys spending time verbally expressing her thoughts and feelings to others through words, being able to write something that other people can connect to, or relate to, in some way by generalizing the thoughts and experiences that she’s writing about.
She can be reached on : firstname.lastname@example.org
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