12 Most Blissful Reasons to Become More Mindful

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12 Most Blissful Reasons to Become More Mindful

An annoyingly persistent inability to shake stress — and to summon focus — led me to seek new ways to become more mindful and, well, present. Worry and stress live in the past or future, I’ve learned. Whereas doing — including actions that reclaim a steady sense of calm — live in the here and now.

My mind tends to flit around with such speed that, years ago, I had largely written off meditation as incompatible with my brain.

Well, my breakthrough came about six months ago when I found guided meditation tracks. To me, guided meditation is like using a personal trainer, who’s not going to let you just wander around the gym, taking breaks and getting sidetracked from putting effort into a solid work out.

Since I started listening to different guided meditation recordings, it has made an incredible difference — in a lovely, “just let things go” kind of way. Surely there are more than 12 blissful reasons to become more mindful, but these are at the top of my list.

1. My day starts with a dose of optimism

The focus of my guided meditation depends on how I am feeling about the day that lies ahead and the events and challenges it includes. Sometimes, I focus on gratitude; other times, on compassion. Regularly, I find it’s helpful to be reminded (as a wife, mother of two grade-school boys, business owner, sister, daughter, friend, board member, volunteer, and so on) to value and appreciate myself and my contributions.

Regardless of the focus of my guided meditation, it always leaves me feeling more grounded. Turns out, this is the case for many people who meditate. And who doesn’t want to start their day like that?

2. It doesn’t have to take a ton of time

Most days, I’ll take 20-25 minutes in the morning to listen to a guided meditation session. (I wake up a bit earlier to fit it in. And the improvement in my mood — before coffee, even — is so significant, I don’t miss hitting the snooze button two more times.)

Yet, putting mindfulness into practice can take much less time than that. Snarled in traffic, behind a jerk of a driver, I can choose to show compassion or, to get sucked into a gooey pit of anger, offense, annoyance, or frustration. Taking a moment to be mindful and remaining calm versus simmering and stewing the rest of my commute? No contest.

3. Deeper, better sleep

My preferred time to listen to one of my favorite meditation mentors, Michelle Alva, Elisabeth Blaikie, or Jason Stephenson, is in the morning. But I find I am able to sleep better at the end of the day now, as well. Research supports the notion that meditating contributes to more relaxing and sound sleep.

4. When sidetracked, focus returns more easily

I’ll confess that this didn’t happen for me, at first. But now that my meditation habit is going on months and not days, I find it is possible to pull my attention back to the task at hand more regularly and successfully than before.

5. Less stress

This claim requires no fine print — or even, for that matter, a prescription. Mindfulness meditation reduces stress. Evidence supports what might otherwise sound too good to be true.

6. Job satisfaction improves

Employees who were taught techniques for using mindfulness — and then practiced them — experienced significantly less emotional exhaustion and more job satisfaction than participants in the control group, in this research study.

7. A more forgiving side is showing up more often

That example from #2, about showing compassion to the jerk in traffic? No, I have not turned into a patient angel. Let’s just say I choose that route more than I used to. It actually feels liberating. Seriously.

8. Enhanced creativity

When the engine fueling my creative ideas stalls, it can feel overwhelming. It’s as if my productivity slumps into first gear, or stops — whether my project and client deadlines allow for that, or not.

Since I began meditating, I have noticed things humming along more regularly. And research exists that supports this finding.

9. Speedier cognitive function

Another way to say this might be a less-foggy brain. The pathways work better when they’re maintained. And meditating is like maintenance for your mind.

10. Better health in some other, surprising ways

Some of the ways meditation encourages good things for people’s brains and bodies weren’t intuitive (to me, anyway.)

Ineedmotivation.com has a list of 100 benefits from meditation. It includes fewer headaches; relief from asthma; clearer skin; improved fertility; an enhanced immune system — even better hearing!

11. More energy for restarting positive habits

I’ve been pretty fit and active most of my adult life — until about five years ago. There’s no good excuse. But I let myself blame the hectic pace of life with two small children, work, home and everything else that goes along with that. (See #1!)

Since I’ve started meditating, I have been able to restart a fitness routine and see gains in my strength and endurance. I feel more motivated to keep it up, too.

12. Perspective, perspective, perspective

We all know we’re not supposed to “sweat the small stuff.” But keeping a handle on what counts as “the small stuff” is hard — especially when our careers and lives seem to be driven by electronic devices switched on, and connected to WiFi, 24/7. The demands of modern life can get really out of whack with what really matters. Knowing that is one thing. Regaining perspective, or balance, is another. And my guided meditation habit has helped me to do this. Ahhh.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned since starting down this mindfulness path is that it is possible to get the hang of this. Guided meditation is what helped me stick with it. There are many other approaches, though, toward adapting a life that incorporates more mindfulness. What have you found that works for you? And what changes have you noticed?

Featured image courtesy of Mathew Bedworth licensed via Creative Commons.

Becky Gaylord

http://www.gaylordllc.com

Becky worked as a reporter for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C.; Sydney, Australia; and Cleveland, Ohio for major publications including the New York Times, Salon.com, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, and was Associate Editor of the Plain Dealer’s Editorial Page before she launched the consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. The company helps clients improve their external relations and communication and increase their influence and impact. Becky blogs about that (a few other things) at Framing What Works.

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Multitasking Distracts the Mindful Marketer: Lisa Nirell Talks to Marketing Smarts

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Lisa Nirell is chief energy officer of EnergizeGrowth, a consultancy that helps companies grow mind share and market share. Since 1983, Lisa has worked with Infor, Bozzuto, Zappos, BMC Software, Adobe, Microsoft, and hundreds of entrepreneurs in nine countries. She is the author of EnergizeGrowth NOW: The Marketing Guide to a Wealthy Company.

I invited Lisa to Marketing Smarts to talk about her latest book, The Mindful Marketer: How to Stay Present and Profitable in a Data-Driven World.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

Becoming a better marketer starts with acceptance (04:52): “The first part is accepting where you’re at in your own evolution as a marketer. Saying ‘here are the strengths, here are places I can definitely improve.’ Just being aware of that can be a tremendous breakthrough—and asking other people for feedback on where you can improve.”

Using “intentional language” elevates your conversation (05:16): “How [do] you communicate? What’s your language? I call it ‘intentional language’—being able to look at what kind of language you’re using in your day-to-day conversations with your customers and each other. [T]he language you use in all of your content can be a great place to look…. There are certain words…that I call ‘low-energy language’ that we need to eliminate to be mindful marketers. Words like ‘target market.’ We need to stop targeting people and start serving people. ‘Serving’ is a high-energy word. We have to stop using the word ‘pitch’ and start talking about conversing with others. We have to stop using military and sports metaphors…. Stop using words like ‘attack’ and instead use words like ‘participate.’ Stop using words like ‘penetrate’ and use the word ‘expand.’ Minor shifts in how we communicate with others change not only the peer-to-peer relationships we’re having with them, but it also raises the vibrational frequency of the conversations you’re having.”

For marketers to get a seat at the board table, we need to stop talking like ‘order takers’  (10:41): “It’s not about doing more. It’s about being more. One of the first places we can start to really be mindful marketers that are creating and innovating fresh ideas, better customer relationships, and better relationships with our internal peers is by the language we use. If we are ‘order takers,’ we are kind of like the McDonald’s drive-through window. ‘Oh, hi, this is the Marketing Department. May I take your order today? Sure, you can have it your way.’ That is classic subservient kind of language that we have to stop using. We have to recognize that, in the boardroom, we are peers to the CFO, to the VP of sales, to the VP of customer service, and all of our contemporaries. Just by using words like ‘creating value for our customers, designing stronger inbound marketing strategies that create a thought leadership platform for our company.’ Those are the kind of words that market makers and innovators use, and we have to start practicing them.”

To learn more about Lisa, visit EnergizeGrowth.com, or follow her on Twitter: @lisa_nirell.

Lisa and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

This episode brought to you by: 

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

This marketing podcast was created and published by MarketingProfs.

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone is instructional design manager, enterprise training, at MarketingProfs. She’s also a speaker, writer, attorney, and educator. She hosts and produces the weekly Marketing Smarts podcast. To contact Kerry about being a guest on Marketing Smarts, send her an email, or you can find her on Twitter (@KerryGorgone), Google+, and her personal blog.

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