Change your outlook – Change your productivity
Post #5 in a Series: Meditation
In his TED Talk, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor identified five research-based practices shown to increase happiness and productivity when built into your daily routine.
Creating Lasting Positive Change
Today, we will focus on meditation. If you would like to revisit the introduction to this series, click here. Use the links in the bulleted list above to access previously discussed elements of change.
I’m a Thinker
I’m a thinker. Actually, I’m an over-thinker, a worrier. My brain is busy. All the time. My dreams are active and memorable. My mind continually wonders “what if?”.
Sometimes this trait serves me well. I can see around corners and predict possible consequences. This enables me to create a plan of action for when the “if” becomes a reality. That’s a good thing. I usually have an organized plan of action because I have thought ahead. No flying by the seat of my pants for me. I’m a planner… because I over-think everything.
Sometimes my over-active mind causes me to float down the river of anxiety. I say float, like it’s peaceful. I assure you it is not. Those close to me, for whom I am very grateful, could tell you tales of my mind’s obsession with fear and the very real physical manifestations of systemic anxiety. But that’s another story for another day.
Many times an over-active mind is actually able to focus productively on very little.
“Don’t worry about that”, says the person trying to be helpful.
“I’d love to not worry about that”, replies the one who sadly wishes it were that simple.
Years ago, a man I greatly respect encouraged me to attend a class on meditation. He explained how participants practice mindfulness, focus on their breath, and train their brains to function in the here and now. Train their brains. That phrase stuck with me. We cannot simply wish for our minds to stop racing. We must practice training our minds to be still, to be present, to be observant of reality in the moment.
Change your Mindset
Dweck (2007) encourages changing our mindset from fixed to growth by practicing listening to the voices in our heads (the nice voices) and practicing acting in a manner that will cause us to:
- take on a challenge wholeheartedly,
- learn from setbacks and try again
- hear criticism and act on it
Let’s see what Shawn Achor has to say about this one.
So, we’re not talking about burning incense, sitting with our hands in a prescribed position, and chanting. Though, feel free if those actions work for you. Instead, for mere minutes a day, we’re talking about the simple act of sitting or lying still, breathing, and simply being. Sounds peaceful to me.
YouTube is an incredible resource for guided meditation and mindfulnes. I challenge you to take five minutes to give this one a try. Yes, right now.
Some videos include soft talking, like the one you just sampled, and others simply contain nature sounds or gentle music.
- Mindfulness Bell – A Five Minute Mundfulness Meditation – This one features a bell slowly chiming for five minutes. Yep, that’s all. Simple.
- Five Minute Guided Meditation for Inner Peace and Calm – The voice on this one is very soft.
- 5 Minute Morning Meditation Quick Way to a Great Day – This meditation is designed for first thing in the morning.
- Morning Uplift – You are Amazing! – If you are partial to an English accent and a peppier vibe, this one may be for you.
There are gazillions more on YouTube and in the iTunes store, many free. There is literally something for every style and time allotment.
Who knew that sitting and doing nothing was actually doing something?
Don’t know where to start? Fear not. I’ve got you. Refer to The Garrison Institute’s infographic, 10 steps to Mindfulness Meditation.
There will be one more post in this series, featuring the final step of Shawn Achor’s elements proven to change your outlook and your productivity. Look for a post on random acts of kindness next. Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter. You will not want to miss a post in this series.
How uplifting is this series? I would love to hear from you regarding your experience. Leave me a comment.
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