The mystery of mindfulness and how to unlock your own professional progress
Updated: May 16
While mindfulness has become a hot topic in today's media outlets, for the majority of people, the opportunity to fully explore the personal anecdotes and journeys has remained somewhat of a mystery.
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To counter this, I recently joined a book club focused on personal development and the first 2 books - The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success, by Deepak Chopra and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle - were about mindfulness. I learned a lot through the books - I actually started meditating when I first read The Power of Now some years ago - but the real learning came from the discussions with others, understanding how they interpreted the books and applied the learning to their lives.
Here are the 3 lessons that will help me to develop in my mindfulness journey:
There are different ways to be mindful: Since I've started meditating, I either do it laying down in bed or seating with crossed legs and closed eyes. I used to do guided meditation using Headspace and Insight Timer, but after I read Deepak Chopra's book, I am following his advice to just free up my mind without any guidance, what I believe it's much harder than following a narrative to 'occupy my mind'. In the book club I heard that meditating with the eyes open, focusing on a space or object is a good way to prevent the mind of wondering or that going for a walk or practicing sports without headsets, being fully aware or your body and surroundings are options to focus in the present moment and build self-awareness. I also realized that other people have similar challenges to avoid self-judgment when thoughts cross the mind during meditation what helped me to 'take it easy' on myself.
Mindfulness develops self-awareness and helps professional development: everyone in the group had a story to share when they could either control their reaction in a stressful situation or acknowledged that they were getting frustrated and tried to understand the cause of it. As I started meditating 3 years ago, I had feedback from my leaders that I was listening more before positioning my point of view and close family members and friends mentioned that I am more patient, what is a big compliment for an uneasy person like me. I also pay close attention to the physical reactions that stress and anxiety cause and I try to stop them through deep breaths. Taking a break and going for a walk or catching an yoga class in the end of the day are also extremely help to decrease stress and re-center and I see immediate results.
Anything is better than nothing in the journey to mindfulness: Deepak Chopra suggests that we should meditate 30 min, 2 times a day and we spent some time discussing this in the book club. While everyone agreed that, for the fast-paced and busy life in Silicon Valley, this seems to be too much as a starting point, the group is trying to consistently meditate 10 to 30 min a day, the time of the day that worked better for each one. Setting up an achievable goal and making it more challenging overtime as you see progress is better than starting with target that you will not be able to meet and getting frustrated with the result.
What was the last time you added a new habit in your life and what was the strategy you use to continue investing on it even if you didn't see immediate results? Share your experiences with the other divas on Facebook or Twitter.