It is 8:45 in the morning. Barely awake, the student jumps out of his bed. He checks his phone for messages even as he brushes his teeth. With hardly ten minutes left for the first lecture, he hurriedly gets dressed. He orders whatever is instantly available in the hostel cafeteria, stuffs it in his mouth and rushes to class. It would not be wrong to assume that he has no idea what he is wearing or what he has eaten for breakfast.
A working adult’s morning is not very different. Amidst children wailing, household chores pending, mobile phones ringing and work pressure mounting, an office-goer gets ready for work. He runs around like a headless chicken trying to multitask. Even before he leaves for work, he is stressed out and anxious. He has no time to wait or pause for even a moment.
A lot of us can relate to such scenarios. But life need not be so chaotic. Being mindful can reduce stress and bring order. Psychologists and medical practitioners alike have stressed upon the need for mindfulness. They have found that being attentive to tasks improves physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness exercises the brain just as a dumbbell works out muscles. Art of Living teacher Dr Manikantan Menon explains, “When we pay attention to ourselves and our surroundings, we tame our mind to be totally present in the moment. It is the art of being mindful.”
The concept of mindfulness has its roots in Hinduism and Buddhism. Sages have often emphasised on the importance of practicing mindfulness in unlocking our life’s potential. Even yogis use mindful meditation to enhance their awareness and attention span. In one of his talks, spiritual leader and mystic Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is known to have said: “The only reason why someone is a mystic and someone is not, is the lack of attention. Spirituality happens only because you paid attention to your life and you saw that you don’t know where it begins and where it ends.”
Although mindfulness began as a spiritual concept, the practice has found its application in professional settings. A recent study Being Mindfully Aware and Engaged at Work by Maastricht University proves that mindfulness helps one break free from monotony. The research suggests that mindfulness helps employees get out of the rut and reinvent ways to work more efficiently. The study also found that besides reducing stress and burnout in an employee, mindfulness also results in an increased work-life balance, emotional quotient, performance, and job satisfaction.