Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.Jon Kabat-Zinn
We spent last weekend in Kansas City. While there, we took some time to discuss the concept of ‘mindfulness’ with friends, this after spending the day exploring downtown Kansas City a bit. I came away from the weekend feeling refreshed and renewed. Upon further reflection, I feel like maybe the change of scenery and being out West, if for just a weekend, was a positive change of pace. In addition, discussing interesting topics such as this with like-minded friends is stimulating as well.
This is essentially what I took away from our discussion about mindfulness.
To be mindful at any given moment is to be aware of what you are feeling and experiencing in your brain and body without reacting to what you are feeling. Rather, you simply acknowledge your feelings and experiences; you sit with them and let them run their course through your nervous sytem, but you do not (necessarily) respond to them.
The two emotions I seek to be more mindful of, and have more control over, are fear and anger.
One’s response to fear and anger can have critical impacts on a person’s life and career. If you are prone to immediately ceding control to your amygdala (a.k.a ‘lizard brain’) when terrifying or angering events occur to you, you could potentially make snap decisions that adversely affect your life and career.
Therefore, being mindful of strong feelings such as fear and anger and how they affect your nervous system and decision making can buy you precious seconds to take a breath, shut down your ‘lizard brain’ for a few beats, and get command and control back into your prefrontal cortex, thus giving you a much better chance to mete out an effective response to your current situation.
Fight-or-flight, to be or not to be - that is the question. Take a deep breath, sit with your feelings for a minute, and figure it out.
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