Chances are you’re on your way or you’ve just returned home from work. You’re squashed on the MRT or a bus, or getting into your role of ‘mum’ or ‘wife’ or both, and trying desperately to disconnect your head from ‘work-brain’ to ‘home-brain’. Most likely you’re scrolling your phone (and finding us – hiya!), deciding whether you’re hungry, or planning what the night ahead will bring. But hang on…your thoughts just keep getting interrupted, until they’re racing around all over the place and making no sense at all.
The phrase ‘mindfulness’ has been knocking around for a while, but what was viewed ten years ago as hocus-pocus sprouted from the mouths of linen-wearing nut munchers, is today becoming an integral and essential part of people’s lives.
The likes of Goldman Sachs, The Bank of America and Google have introduced programmes to help staff cope with pressure, and Mindfulness Trainer and Founder of Singapore’s Brahm Centre located at the Ren Ci Community Hospital, Angie Chew, reveals that she regularly conducts mindfulness courses and corporate seminars with large local companies on how mindfulness can combat the stress and anxieties our modern world dishes out. She will even be launching courses on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) later this year.
But what exactly is Mindfulness?
“It’s about paying more attention to the present moment and to your own thoughts and feelings, and knowing how to discharge negative emotions. Mindfulness helps us to understand ourselves better, reduce worrying and lead a calmer existence,” explains Angie, who has been practicing for 15 years. “With modern technology it’s easy to stop noticing what’s actually happening in the world around us. Being mindful helps to improve our mental and physical wellbeing as they are linked.”
Here are 5 core values you must have before you can start to on a slower, happier, mindfulness path:
We don’t mean wanting to know everything about everything. But before you can even try to lower the stress and anxiety in your life you’ve got to be aware of the world and want to question it. Why is something making you tense. What's the cause of your heart pounding? You can’t live in ‘the now’ without being inquisitive about it.
This is where you have to be willing to be kind to yourself and your mind. "If you feel your breathing quicken, your temperature rising and your mind spinning, recognise what is happening and just stop and breathe. Don't beat yourself up for not being able to control your emotions, let them fall away naturally by not focusing on them."
If you are on edge and jittery, trying to ignore it and continuing to battle through as if everything is ‘fine thank you very much’ will ultimately result in burnout. There is no shame in how you feel, and with 55 percent of Singaporean business managers and owners admitting that even they suffer from everyday challenges, you are certainly not alone. “ Accept what you can't change so you're not struggling with negative outcomes which will propel you to feel even more frustrated. Accept diversity, and that people's opnions don't have to agree with yours. Take yourself for who you are – say "I am god enough!".
4. LESS JUDGEMENT
If someone or something is fuelling your stress, before you start getting angry at the moment or the person, have the strength to see the situation from an alternative point of view before you continue. If you’re running late for work because the Kopi O seller is being slower than usual, reign your anxiety in. Maybe he was ill in the night and isn’t working to optimum performance? If your boss berates you for something small, hold back on being defensive. Perhaps they have out-of-work pressures you’re unaware of. When you judge someone without fact, you’re letting negative emotions build up from nothing.
If you’re thinking about the past, you’re re-living moments that can’t be changed. If you’re working out the future, your energy is being dedicated to situations out of your control. “The only way to live your life free of stress and anxiety is by being present in the here and now, because you are only in charge of this very moment” says Angie. “We can then outsmart these negative emotions when we are present enough to acknowledge them. When we recognise they're coming from our negative rumination, you can de-stress yourself by simply refocusing your mind on positive thoughts”
For further information and for details on courses log onto brahmcentre.com