Mindfulness is a concept you will be hearing a lot more about this year, so it is worth familiarising yourself with it now! Just don’t go calling it a buzzword as it is the exact opposite; the brain-training technique uses breathing exercises to disperse the buzz of the outside world to help achieve mental clarity.
The technique has been discussed as a potential therapy in Parliament for unemployment and depression. Mindfulness is not about zoning out though, it is more about zoning in, de-cluttering the brain and paying attention to the present.
Mindfulness training is now being embraced by many different types of organisations such as Google, the Home Office and Transport for London as a treatment to high pressure environments and information overload – both of which are common in the workplace today.
Many of us find ourselves with so much on our minds that we often function on autopilot. Mindfulness is a way of teaching us to be present in the moment, not worrying about the future or agonising over the past. The technique uses breathing exercises similar to those used in meditation and yoga, but this is where the similarities end. The idea is not to switch off, but to become more aware of feelings and thoughts, so that instead of feeling overwhelmed, we can manage them instead.
The World Health Organisation has recently stated that by 2030, mental health issues will be the biggest burden on health services, even more so than cancer and heart conditions. Mark Leonard (who runs the Mindfulness Exchange) says, “Mindfulness has been shown to help those suffering from depression to manage their emotions better and dwell less on negative memories and feelings.”
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