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Mindful In May – Attention Matters

In this blog, NeuroCapability Founder and CEO Linda Ray turns her attention to the subject of mindfulness.

Do you find your attention wandering? Are you easily distracted? Is your stress level high? Why not join the increasing number of leaders who practice mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a mental discipline that involves training attention. Training attention through practices like mindfulness meditation is an ancient skill, but it has been found to have a wide number of applications in the modern day.

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I first began mindfulness practice around three years ago when I became aware it might help me with what I call ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. This syndrome causes people to be easily distracted, particularly by bright ideas, novelty, conversations, email etc.  People with this syndrome often have what Buddhists refer to as ‘monkey mind’ – a mind that is unsettled, restless, whimsical, inconsistent, jumping from thought to thought a bit like a monkey jumping from tree to tree.

It is easy to be ‘mindless’ in this age of information overwhelm and constant distraction. Research about the benefits of mindfulness consistently demonstrates improvements in concentration, cognitive capacity,  health and wellbeing.

A recent study by Hölzel and her co-authors points out, “What we think of as mindfulness is not actually a single skill. Rather, it is a multi-faceted mental practice that encompasses several mechanisms”. The authors specifically identify four key components of mindfulness that may account for its effects: attention regulation, body awareness, emotion regulation, and sense of self.

The beauty of mindfulness practice is that it’s very simple:  just five minutes a day can make a huge difference. People from around the globe have joined the Mindful in May initiative, which invites participants to engage in ten minutes of mindfulness practice a day. For those interested, you can join for a half version by signing up before 14th May. Each day you are provided with an activity to try and a range of resources that can support you in becoming more mindful.

Next month in Brisbane, we will host Dr Craig Hassed at our Breakfast Forum. He’ll be sharing his thoughts about why attention matters. In the Breakfast Forum, Dr Hassed will explore the science and principles of mindfulness as well as its applications in areas including wellbeing, resilience, mental health, leadership, information processing, decision-making, and performance. Skills in how to apply mindfulness personally and professionally will also be explored. To find out more click here.

If you haven’t already turned on the mindfulness switch, now might be the time to start taming your ‘monkey mind’.

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