12 ways to practice mindfulness

12 ways to practice mindfulness - What people from Cook Medical Australia learnt about improving their wellbeing…

Chelsea Pottenger and Emily O’Connell

Have you ever wondered how meditation can change your brain? Perhaps you have been looking for techniques to reduce stress and manage anxiety and burnout? Maybe you have been looking for ways to improve your focus, memory, productivity and feel a greater sense of calm? Here are 12 things we learnt about improving our wellbeing during a recent mindfulness workshop…

Over the course of four months 40 people from Cook Australia participated in a series of Mindfulness workshops facilitated by Chelsea Pottenger from EQ Consulting co.

The workshops were educational and provided a valuable insight into the patterns of our own behaviour. Chelsea shared with us the benefits of being more mindful and practices we can employ every day to recharge our brains.

Here are 12 things we learnt about improving our wellbeing…

1.     The science behind changing your brain. Neuroplasticity means we can grow and train our brains. Learning the science behind mindfulness intrinsically motivated our people to try it.

2.     Simple steps to unitask. Trying to do more than one thing at a time not only slows us down, it also causes us to make mistakes. By learning tips about mindfulness, making lists, removing distractions and grouping tasks we can become more focused and productive.

3.     Proactivate don’t procrastinate. Most of us have that one really important task that we have been avoiding. By learning a few simple tricks we can overcome procrastination and accomplish all the goals on our list.

4.     Build your own resilience. We have all had the disappointing experience of something not working in our favour. When we then share this news with a work colleague, a friend or partner we can get stuck in a rumination cycle, thinking about it over and over again, which then causes us distress, unproductivity and can impact our sleep. Breaking this negative feedback loop, allows us to take accountability for our emotions and move on from the emotional triggers so we could live more in the moment and increase our energy and productivity.

5.     The power of gratitude. Mindfulness and gratitude go hand in hand. When we are really tuned in to ourselves and feel grateful for what we have, we are less likely to be swept up in the past, caught up in reactivity or focused on the future. Practicing gratitude also releases serotonin and dopamine into the brain (our happy chemical) so you also feel good.

6.     Why it pays to pay it forward. When we practice compassion it actually increases the size of the insula in our brain—where our empathy and compassion responses are created. We can strengthen this skill and this inner quality of connectedness to improve our emotional well-being and enhance our happiness and those around us.

7.     You are what you eat. More scientific research is pointing to the human gut, or the micro-biome, as our second brain. We can improve our gut-brain connection by considering our food choices carefully.

8.     Develop a morning ritual. Focusing on the first hour of each day is one of the best ways we can set ourselves up for success. By introducing a few good habits in the morning we can start each day on a positive note.

9.     Stop before you scroll. Develop a healthier relationship with technology, and in particular social media, so it does not take priority over real human experiences.

10.  Listen with purpose. Having meaningful conversations and just being in the moment, dramatically improves relationships.

11.  STOP.  and find time to make use of some simple bite size techniques to practice mindfulness especially when we are busy.

12.  The power of taking a breath. Deep breathing is a clinically proven way to promote well-being decrease stress or anxiety in any situation.  

 So in an age where we are operating at a frenetic pace nothing in life can be more accelerating than slowing  down, and in an age of constant distraction, nothing is as luxurious as paying attention to ourselves and living in the moment. 

After finishing this course we now have the fundamentals for living a more mindful life. The skills we have gained will serve as an emergency parachute if we ever feel ourselves being pulled back into the rat race or sense of being on autopilot, and best of all, we can pay it forward and share these skills with our family and friends to help them stay calm if life throws them something unexpected.

The more in harmony you are with the flow of your life, and the more you are able to live in the moment, the more magical life becomes, for everyone.

Invest in your mind. Invest in your health. Invest in your life.

About the contributors

Emily is the corporate communication specialist for Cook Medical, Australia. Once racing through life wishing she had possession of Hermione’s magical “time-turner” pendant Emily now tries to find a few moments each day to allow her mind and body to relax.

 Chelsea established EQ Consulting Co in 2016, driven by a passionate belief in the need for businesses to invest in the psychological wellbeing of their people. Now working with leading organisations in Australia, she is exposing professionals to healthier de-stressing techniques, that enable them to thrive in this fast paced environment.