• Claire Hunter

Preparing to get off the hamster wheel

It can be challenging to change deeply ingrained habits and ways of thinking, right? Mindfulness is a particular way of approaching the world, and it might be quite different to the way you currently approach your life. If you are serious about trying out a more mindful way of approaching your work you will need to devote some time and make a commitment to trying things out. This could be as little as 10 minutes each day for you to devote to practicing the skills of mindfulness. The more consistently you ‘practice’, the more likely you are to develop new habits. And it’s the consistency of practice that matters, rather than how many minutes you devote to it each day.

Mindfulness enables you to be more fully aware of each moment of your life. The good news is that this often makes more enjoyable, colourful and fulfilling. On the other hand, it means facing whatever is present in each moment, even if it is difficult or painful. You may find at times that you resist looking pain and challenge in the face, but this is part of the practice of mindfulness. When you feel resistant to engaging in mindfulness it is useful to remind yourself why you were curious about it in the first place. Perhaps it would be useful to reflect on where you are now? Have you ever felt like you are on a hamster wheel of endless tasks, with no time to catch your breath? Do you ever get time to just think? Do you ever get a chance to press pause, take a breath and see your daily challenges with a sense of clarity and focus? What if you could approach getting your work done with a sense of ease and good humour, in a way that connects with who you really want to be as a person? Life isn’t always easy; we all face tough times and challenges, but the way we relate to these challenges can make the difference between simply existing and truly living. This is where mindfulness can help.

Developing a mindful approach to work can provide an internal compass to help you charter the waters of constant change and challenge, from a place of calm, self-compassion and focus. Practising mindfulness can help you recognise that the conditions for happiness and satisfaction are present in your life, including your work life, right now. But developing mindfulness is about developing new habits, and perhaps letting go of old ones, and the process of developing new habits takes time and persistence. Setting a very clear intention can help, because intention shapes what you consciously and unconsciously pay attention to. Your intention drives your attention.

So, for those of you that want to dip their toe in mindful waters, it might be helpful to set your intention, or get clear about how you’d like it to help you, before you go any further. This is a bit like the way you’d get clear on your fitness or weight loss goals if you were starting to work with a personal fitness trainer. It’s a way of keeping motivated, even when you don’t feel like doing it.

Over to you: for those of you that are new to mindfulness, what has brought you to this point of wanting to find out more? How would you like it to help you? And for those of you with an established practice, what is it bringing to your life, and how do you stay on track with it? What’s brought you to this point? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

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