Have you ever watched a reality TV show where contestants are always racing to beat the clock? We hear statements such as, “I have to get it perfect or I’ll be going home”. Then we break for an ad featuring a busy mother suffering from heartburn, and the message is that if you take medication it will fix all your problems.
It’s no wonder that as a society mindlessness is reaching epic proportions, leading to increasing health problems in our youth, record numbers of suicides in young people, eating disorders and growing number of our population suffering from depression.
A few years back a study commissioned by Medibank concluded that stress related absenteeism cost the Australian economy $14.81 billion a year while the cost to employers is more like $10.11 billion a year.
Mindlessness vs. Mindfulness
When we go through life as if we are on autopilot we tend to be react more, because our pre-programmed responses are in control of our lives.
When we are mindless we often ignore, or fail to notice the clues that our bodies are giving us to take a break or take time out. We forget people’s names when introduced. We eat without tasting the food. We multi-task and are often not fully present in our relationships.
The cost of being mindless, in terms of happiness and fulfilment, is incredibly high.
An interesting fact is that rather than getting more done, mindlessness means we usually accomplish less. According to studies it usually takes 50% longer to accomplish a task when we are interrupted, or have divided attention, and we are 50% more likely to make errors.
Mindlessness often means we lose connection with people and can feel as if our life is racing away from us, because we are never present in this moment.
Mindfulness is not about trying to fix anything. It is about expanding our awareness by focusing on the present moment several times a day for short periods of time. Mindfulness is known to alleviate stress but that is just a side benefit, the real benefit we gain from mindfulness is awareness.
Scientists have found that when we are mindful we start wiring neurons which balance the brain in the same way as antidepressant medication. Being mindful has also been found to reduce negative thinking and improve our ability to regulate our emotions.
At long last the corporate world is waking up and so many companies are offering mindfulness and meditation to their staff, but we need more. We need to teach our children to pause before reacting. We need to become positive role models. There is a big demand for mindfulness and meditation teachers but each one of us can influence the world around us simply by being mindful and meditating on a regular basis.
Hart Life Coaching conducts online mindfulness and meditation teacher courses.