LinkedIn Conscious Business Week 12: Mindfulness
From the introduction:
For each week of this course I am going to take my notes on what I learned and turn it into a short blog post. I am hoping this will encourage you to take a look at the course and maybe do it yourself.
This weeks notes on Conscious Business focus on mindfulness. This is also the final post for the Conscious Business Course.
Knowing Isn’t Doing
These notes, just like the LinkedIn program contains a lot of information that seems obvious and like common sense. However, just knowing this information doesn’t mean that you’ll use it and put it into practice in the right situations.
This is precisely the reason I am writing these notes now at the end of the year, when I went through this course at the beginning of the year. I thought that I would be different, and that I would be able to put everything in this course into practice.
Instead I found I was wrong and so I decided to write these posts as a kind of reference. Mainly for myself, but also for others that I can look back on regularly and when encountering specific situations.
Making Mindful Choices
When you feel stressed you enter into fight or flight mode which shuts down parts of your brain for logical thinking and instead your primal parts of the brain becomes more in control. You stop thinking clearly and, in today’s world, will end up fighting your initial responses of fighting or running away.
To combat this you have to be able to create a relaxation response. You have to first stop the stress to relax inside. And in that relaxation you have the freedom to make a choice.
To do this you need to have a routine that will bring you from a state of stress to a state of relaxation. This routine is called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is paying attention, non-judgementally, in the present moment, on purpose. It is using your intention to pay intention. It is being present in the moment without a judging mind.
There isn’t much special about this. In fact, it is something that everyone does. Yet, it is not something everyone does when they are faced with stress.
Relaxing Under Pressure
When you go scuba diving on a windy day, the surface can be very choppy. But when you put on a weight and jump into the water you start feeling more and more relaxation as it gets calmer under the surface. And at a point a few meters under the surface it is completely calm.
This is a great analogy for the brain. On the surface your brain is running with beta waves which is around 30Hz. It is your normal, everyday action and it is where your brain is at when you feel stressed or anxious. The higher the Hz, the more stressed and anxious you feel.
Then underneath the surface you enter alpha wave territory. Here you are much more relaxed and your brain is around 10Hz. The further down you go you enter into Theta waves. At theta waves most people will fall asleep if they have no training. Finally you get to delta waves which is achieved when you have deep dreamless sleep.
We go through each of these stages most 24 hours. The difficulty is that we can’t reach these states on demand.
Mindfulness requires an object to be mindful of. Most of the time this is your breath. Your breath is always with you and this is why most meditation techniques will start with your breath. Meditation is only being aware of your breath on purpose, perhaps you count it, or you just become more aware of it.
Mindfulness has had a profound impact on my life this past year. Since meditating I am more calm and more aware of situations. I take more care of myself and do a better job of looking after others. But more about that in my 2017 reflection post.