Mind the Gap

For most of us, our mind is our most precious, most used and most central tool for having a career and sustaining a livelihood. Yet it is also the most overworked, worn-out and least maintained tool we own. Multiple distractions, interruptions and a constant downpour of information just adds to the wear and tear. On top of this, most jobs have increased workloads, fewer hands and seemingly endless amounts of contact points to be dealt with. No wonder our heads are buzzing at the end of the day.

But the mind is worth preserving. While a peaceful mind could be seen as an endangered species, it is not beyond saving. The solution is deceptively simple, has been presented by numerous others, and is always in stock: Mindfulness.

Letting your mind get a breather 2-3 times a day will work miracles for your concentration, creativity, stamina and the overall quality of your work. If you can challenge yourself to reach about 10-15 minutes in total per day, you will notice a huge difference. At risk of repeating the obvious: Sneaking in those gaps during the day to focus on your mind, is the way it stays sharp. And in the end that is the foundation under everything else you do.

We know. You’ve heard it. It’s not you. It’s not your thing. You didn’t take the class. We get it.

A mindfulness habit can be incredibly hard to achieve because it feels like you are wasting your time. We won’t throw science at you or try to scare you, and you can Google “mindfulness” yourself if data is your thing. We will just give you a few simple tips to help make it a natural part of your day.

The main barrier is often finding a time and a place. If you work in a place where breaks are frowned upon, you could extend your bio-breaks by 3 minutes or just go to lunch 5 minutes later than everyone else, staying by your desk for a breather. Literally!

Generally, “Mindfulness 101″ says sit up straight, hands in your lap, feet on the ground and close your eyes. The easiest path is to give your attention to your breath, which is quite practical as it is always available. Feel it, listen to it going in and out, and if your mind is wandering count each inhale and exhale.

Emptying the mind might work for some. We have better experiences with trying try to focus your mind on the gaps. The small gaps in your thoughts, or the small gaps between inhale and exhale, let those gaps become wider and wider. Enjoy the gaps and take the moment to appreciate them. Make the thought of a gap in your thoughts let you crack a smile.

Creating and appreciating gaps in your breath, in your thoughts, and in your schedule will keep your mind sharp, your blood pressure lower, and your smiles wider. What’s not to like?