We live in a busy world where we’re constantly bombarded with a line-up of tasks we need to catch up on – like that “Honey Do” list that’s posted on the fridge at home.
We become so engrossed with our daily pressures of work and supporting the family that we sometimes forget to live and connect in the present moment with those we love.
Mindfulness means to live in the moment and to possess complete awareness of what is happening around you. When you are mindful, your attention reaches new heights, and you are centered on the moment’s activities.
Your mind is focused, does not wander, and there are no perceptions or judgments that can disrupt your situation.
Now, does that sound like your wife’s dream-come-true or what?
And wouldn’t that state of mind describe the ideal bonding time with the kids – without getting distracted by deadlines or the boss’s expectations?
It can become reality for you. However, it’s not an acquired trait so much as it’s more of a way of thinking and behaving. Yes, it takes time and practice.
So…Why Should I Buy Into This?
Once you get started, you’ll see the positive effects of mindfulness. Scientifically, they can be categorized into three groups:
- Affective Benefits – The evidence shows that mindfulness assists the brain in the development of effective emotional regulation. Mindful meditation minimizes rumination, improves metacognitive awareness, and your attention span by improving the working memory. In other words, you’ll gain more patience and better ability to pay attention when you need to.
- Interpersonal Benefits – Evidence shows that trait mindfulness can predict relationship satisfaction and enhance the capacity for constructive responses related to relationship stress. It also improves the skill of recognizing and expressing emotions to the partner, while lowering the amount of relationship conflict and negativity. As they say, “happy wife; happy life.”
- Other Intrapersonal Benefits – Mindfulness also improves functions correlated with the area of the brain that regulates self-insight, intuition, morality, and fear modulation. There is even evidence that mindful meditation brings numerous health benefits like improved well-being, immune functioning, and reduction of psychological stress which means you’ll shake off those rough days at the office just in time to arrive home and greet the fam.
And Speaking of Work, How Mindfulness Improves the Daily Grind
And just in case you feel that those benefits may not directly relate to you, other important findings show that mindfulness can positively impact your job satisfaction as well.
When there is a stressful situation at work, you are experiencing backlash from two fronts – one is the situation itself, and the other is because your coping mechanisms are tested by the negative nature of that dynamic.
But when practicing mindfulness, the present moment is experienced in a non-judgmental receptive way, making stressful events just another platform for a more objective view while refraining from attaching a specific meaning or judgement of that event.
How Mindfulness Benefits Your Wellbeing and Relationships
Aside from the job, the benefits of practicing mindfulness will spill over into other areas. You’ll notice these traits over time:
1. Reduced Rumination
Rumination is the tendency to latch onto negative emotions repeatedly. This may not be typical, but it’s been know to happen even if subconsciously.
Mindfulness helps by programming the brain not to entangle itself with negative emotions. Instead, it’s more about being aware of these negative emotions and avoiding an attachment to them. For example, when stressing about an upcoming event, you might tend to panic about all the things that could go wrong. Mindfulness, on the other hand, emphasizes being aware, non-judgmental, and non-reactive.
In other words, you learn to cool off rather than pop off which your family will greatly appreciate.
2. Improved Memory and Focus
Mindfulness enables you to increasingly harness the power behind your emotions and thoughts to improve your ability to retain information. It works by reducing your proactive interferences in the brain, thus increasing the effectiveness of working memory. Therefore, with mindfulness, you’ll gain more speed and accuracy when assessing situations and contexts.
This ability definitely comes in handy when your daughter brings home her boyfriend to meet the family. You’ll actually give Jr. a fair assessment—if he deserves it.
3. Emotional Intelligence
You’ve heard your wife mention this thousands of times, but believe or not this quality is vital, especially if you don’t like “couching it” after a spirited discussion.
Basically, you can’t be emotionally intelligent without gaining complete awareness of how you’re feeling. Inconsistent emotional Intelligence leads to discontent, stress and that popping off that you successfully avoided while you and your wife were still dating.
Likewise, emotional Intelligence incorporates emotional awareness and management. To achieve this, mindfulness improves your ability to understand your own emotions and helps you learn to recognize other people’s feelings, as well as improve your self-control over your feelings and how you react.
Then, referring back to that era of dating before the mortgage and the kids, you won’t stand accused of just making campaign promises before you proposed which, in turn, makes life so much easier.
A Final Word From Working Daddy
If you observe mindfulness in a simple form, on a day to day activities, the three areas where you will see improvement will be:
- Controlling Attention – you’ll become more attentive throughout your whole day, rather than just letting your mind to wander, or even suffer from continuously distracting thoughts.
- Detecting Negative Thought Patterns – you’ll notice more how quickly one idea leads to another, but you’ll also consciously keep track of your thoughts or feelings to catch patterns that sway you away so that you’ll be able to address them right away.
- Withholding Judgment – practicing mindfulness will train your mind to let go of thoughts and ideas without overanalyzing them. They come and go, and you simply get over it.
Generally, the benefits of mindfulness range from self-control, tolerance, objectivity, to improved concentration, mental clarity, flexibility, and emotional Intelligence.
Nonetheless, consistent practice makes up a large part of this equation, but all these advantages are well worth working toward, and the benefits will pour into many other areas of your life.
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