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Mindfulness; the Present is a Gift

by Beth on March 2nd, 2010

“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Of the many different strategies for increasing your positivity, the one that has had the biggest impact on me so far is being mindful. I am your typical Type A personality, always rushing around trying to do 5 things at once. Or at least I was! I have been making an intentional effort to stop and smell the roses, to be more mindful of the present moment.

Savoring the moment

Being mindful is paying attention to and appreciating the here and now. It increases positivity by helping you to savor the present moment. It also curbs negativity by preventing you from dwelling on negative thoughts. I feel sure that my father’s passion for bird watching contributes to his positivity. He is completely absorbed in the moment as he searches the trees to find the bird he hears. He finds great joy in the beauty of the nature surrounding him and his focus makes it impossible for him to be worrying about anything else.

Unfortunately, most of us spend too much time ruminating about the past or worrying about the future.  It requires a conscious effort to be mindful of the present.

Active listening

Distractions make it difficult to attend to the present moment. So the next time your daughter is telling you about the new game she and her friends made up at recess, take a break from making dinner and really listen to her.  Truly listening to people not only helps you to focus on the present, but it makes them feel good to know they are being heard.

How much better a leader would you be at work if you were fully present and really listened to your employees? How often do you sit in a meeting checking your e-mail or thinking about the report you have to finish later? In positive organizations people are mindful; they give their full attention to what is happening in the present moment and to what others are saying.

How good are you at being mindful? Do you keep distractions to a minimum so you can fully attend to the present moment? Why not make an effort today to really listen to someone or to savor the moment rather than worry about what comes next?

  1. Great post, Beth! I especially like the part about active listening. I once heard someone say, “vow to listen to the silence at the end of other people’s sentences.” I think in our go-go world too often we fail to do that (I’m guilty). I hadn’t thought about how this can also be a practice of mindfulness – thanks!

  2. Beth permalink

    Hi Kellye, I love the idea of listening to the silence at the end of sentences! As an extrovert listening is definitely not one of my strengths, but I am trying very hard to get better at it. I do think it is so important!

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