Our world of constantly flowing information creates distractions and stress, making it increasingly important to stay calm and remain focused in daily life. To help us learn to do just that, Elastic recently initiated a wellbeing programme with Mulberry House . We invited Mulberry House’s Stu Lee to outline his approach to daily mindfulness and we would highly recommend the benefits of this process, not only for general mental health but also for boosting creativity.
Mindfulness has become the buzzword in today’s fast-paced, deadline-driven society, where stress, anxiety and sedentary jobs have officially become the new smoking.
We exist in a world where our attention has become fragmented. We are spending too much time in our heads and losing connection to the thing that our head perches upon, our body. Everything we think, what we do, how we sit, exercise, eat, all impact the body which in turn impacts the mind.
So I’m going to introduce a word that’s been used for eons in the yogic world: the Bodymind/Mindbody. Read it, breathe it, feel it, because you cannot separate the two.
Mindfulness is all about bringing our attention back to the body and the breath, feeling ourselves as part of the present moment not in some kind of thought form, which usually separates us from the body, our environment and from those around us.
Paying real attention is not easy, especially when the mind has been running the show for the majority of our lives. It can project forward, move backwards, become stuck. It can also take on attitudes. It’s amazing and it serves us well, but it’s really a small part of who we are.
To help us develop our attention we are required to turn the mind inward and give it anchors that will steady its movement. Both the breath and the body stay present at all times. Following the breath and feeling the physical movement of the breath within the body develops and nourishes our relationship with our bodymind.
Many run from the idea of mindfulness, but it’s actually our natural state. So to all at Elastic, I urge you to start micro-dosing mindfulness throughout the day.
- Waiting for the kettle to boil: breathe, feel your feet, relax.
- Standing in a queue: breathe and smile (the act of smiling is proven to reduce stress).
- See if you can resist the pull of social media for even a few breaths.
The physiological advantages of tuning into our bodymind are numerous:
- Develops attention and focus.
- Lowers heart rate.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Switches our nervous system into the “rest and digest” phase or neutral.
- Helps with creativity.
- Helps to educate postural awareness.
Developing mindfulness within the team
Being present within ourselves is primary when communicating with others; we all know how we feel when someone is actually paying attention and listening.
Presence, care and attention are needed when we are part of a team. It lends itself to making the team dynamic and responsive to other’s requirements.
The more you can remember to return back to your own bodymind, the easier it is to be present to those around you. This habit can be formed relatively fast.
So a few things to start playing with when communicating with others:
- Become aware of your breath and body. Breathe, feel your feet.
- Make eye contact, letting the other know that we are paying attention.
- Pause for a moment to steady yourself before you respond.
As I’ve already said, this may all seem alien at first. We have a real chance to not only develop ourselves, but also develop how we work as a team and ultimately how Elastic evolves as a company.