PMPI Engage - July/August 2016 - (Page 14)

wellness works! Practice Mindfulness During Your busy Day in The WhirlWind of modern life, it's not unusual to feel like you're operating in an anxiety-ridden fog: multi-tasking, haphazardly knocking items off your to-do list and fretting about the past and what's to come. That's why we can all use a little mindfulness in our lives. It's been touted as meditation, the new caffeine, a new religion, and a new spirituality. There is nothing inherently new about the practice, but it is often misunderstood. WhaT is Mindfulness? First, let's debunk the myths of mindfulness: It is not about going into a meditative trance or falling asleep. In fact, it is just the opposite: being aware of what is happening in our minds, in our bodies and in the world around us. Mindfulness is a way of being. It's about being present and alert in the moment. It's about seeing things as they are right here, right now, on purpose, and without judgment. The goal is to approach situations and challenges with openness and curiosity, enabling us to appreciate the underlying purpose and meaning of our experiences. 14 By Dr. Kim A benefit of mindfulness is that it is portable and flexible. You can do it while stuck in traffic, before a big meeting, or in a busy airport (no one will notice, trust me). It does not require big chunks of time: even one-minute micro-breaks can relieve tension and help regain focus. geTTing sTarTed Mindfulness is like a muscle that needs to be worked; the more we practice, the better we are able to recognize negative or wandering thoughts, sources of stress, and how the body responds to stress. How do we do this? By taking a purposeful pause. When faced with a stressful situation, notice what goes on in your body. Hit the pause button, take some deep breaths and respond thoughtfully rather than impulsively. Think of mindfulness as your coping, calming and resiliency tool. Many people - especially beginner meditators - get frustrated and judge themselves because they have difficulty keeping thoughts from intruding during their practice. That's to be expected: the brain's job is to be always thinking. The purpose of mindfulness is to make you aware of your thoughts so that you are better able to keep them from getting chaotic and disruptive. When you notice your mind wandering, simply refocus on your breathing. Mindfulness breaks train the brain and re-charge the mind, and can include body scanning (mentally "checking in" from head to toe), breathing exercises, yoga, walking, and loving-kindness meditations (reflections of compassion, kindness, gratitude). Mindfulness at workplaces is awareness training: helping employees reduce stress and anxiety, enabling them to focus and perform in the moment. Mindfulness ENgAgE JuLY/AuGuST 2016 VOL. 37 NO. 6 brain breaks at conferences are attention training: to enhance alertness and concentration, enabling learners to focus and retain information. Here are some tips to re-energize, re-focus and de-stress: * Slow down and find time to think, reflect, create, be silent and just be - as you define it. * Avoid negativity by practicing the 3 P's (positivity, possibilities, peace) and the 3 W's (ask yourself: What went well today?) * Create a quiet space where the busyness stops. This could be a visual image, a sound or a physical place to practice mindfulness * Be a serial mono-tasker. Multi-taskers make twice as many mistakes parallel processing compared to performing a single task. * Disconnect from technology to reconnect with yourself, your colleagues and your surroundings. * Try an app (e.g., Calm, Happify, Whil, The Mindfulness App, Yoga Studio, Pocket Yoga, Daily Yoga, 5-Minute Yoga). X bytes® offers yoga and mindfulness video micro-breaks for conferences and workplaces. Make you the priority. Practice mindfulness now. Not Friday, not when your event ends or after your work deadline. Mindfulness is a life tool that, with practice, is readily accessible to you anytime, anyplace. ■ Kim Bercovitz, Ph.D., is president and chief exercise officer of Exercise Bytes, and author of "Sitting is the New Smoking" blog. Dr. Kim can be reached at, 1-855-8xbytes and

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PMPI Engage - July/August 2016

President’s Message
Does Your Brand Earn a 5-Star Review?
MPI Potomac’s Evening of the Stars
Meet the 2016-2017 Board of Directors
Meetings Thought Leadership
Practice Mindfulness During Your Busy Day
Volunteer Spotlight
Destination Spotlight: Boston
Welcome, New Members!
Members on the Move
MPI Potomac Dashboard
Index of Advertisers

PMPI Engage - July/August 2016