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The Importance Of Mindfulness For Goal Achievement & Stress Management

Written by: Lisa Hammett, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Our mindset determines the course of our life. How satisfied are you with your life? Do you feel happy and fulfilled? Are you healthy? If you’re not satisfied, it may be time to evaluate your mindfulness.


Mindfulness is the act of being aware and present in the current moment without judgment. When we are mindful and present, we can improve our overall health and wellness, relieve stress, improve sleep, and focus attention on what truly matters. Mindful individuals make healthier choices. They react more objectively to stress factors, choosing to focus on what they can control versus what they can't control.

Studies show that being present also makes us happier. When we’re completely focused on what we’re doing, we find more enjoyment in the activity. We’re more inclined to do the activity and stick with it, even if it’s a task we’re not fond of.


For many individuals, exercise is not enjoyable. In the case of exercise, telling yourself that you hate exercise is not motivating. It’s human nature to dislike activities that make us uncomfortable. We desire to do things that bring us joy and are comfortable.


What if the next time you are out for your daily walk you focused on your surroundings? Notice the colors, the sounds, and the smells, and really engage your senses. Would you feel differently about your walk? I venture to guess that you would. If anything, the walk would appear to go by more quickly.


Let’s use housework as another example. Pushing a vacuum and dusting may be your least favorite activities. How would you feel if you focused on the progress of your cleaning instead of the actual cleaning process? Notice how the wood or glass starts to shine as you mop and dust. Notice how you feel when your environment is tidy. Are you more relaxed? How does the house smell? Does it smell fresh and clean? In my opinion, nothing smells better than a squeaky clean bathroom. Do I enjoy cleaning the bathroom? Not at all. However, I love the end result, the “reward”.


Another benefit of being mindful and fully present is it forces us to slow down. In this busy world, we have a tendency to rush from one place to the next, often acting on auto-pilot. Our actions become so routine that we no longer pay attention to the process. Research shows that slowing down, being more present, and focusing on one task at a time, makes us more productive.


This is a huge shift from 30+ years ago when employers considered multi-tasking a valuable skill. If you were skilled in multi-tasking you were considered more productive. I recently learned that multi-tasking was never supposed to be a skill for humans. IBM created the multi-tasking capability for computers because humans could not multi-task. How’s that for a wake-up call! Instead of being more productive, multi-tasking creates inefficiency and stress.


When I was in my 20’s, I prided myself on being an excellent multi-tasker. The more tasks I juggled at the same time, the better. Clearly, I was misguided in my belief. It is physically impossible to focus on two or more tasks at the same time. One task will hold your attention. When another task distracts you, your energy shifts to the other task. It’s similar to being in two places at the same time. It’s physically impossible.


If you find yourself stressed, lacking focus, making poor decisions, or not being productive, try these mindfulness techniques to become fully present:


Breathe

Find a quiet, comfortable space to clear your mind. Focus on the breath. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and exhale slowly from your mouth. Notice how your diaphragm expands and contracts with each breath. If you find your mind wandering, gently redirect your focus to the breath. Continue for 5 minutes.


Sense Connection

Find a quiet, comfortable space to clear your mind. Notice your surroundings.

  • Focus on 5 things that you can see

  • Focus on 4 things you can feel

  • Focus on 3 things you can hear

  • Focus on 2 things you can smell

  • Focus on 1 thing you can taste

Visualization

Use your imagination for a brief escape. Find a comfortable space to relax. Close your eyes. Engage your senses. Now, imagine you’re taking a walk, you pick a location. Focus on what you see, notice the light and how it illuminates your surroundings. Turn your attention to the sounds you would hear on your walk. Do you hear birds chirping, a stream skipping over the rocks, or an airplane flying overhead? Next, notice the scents around you it may be a campfire, the salt of the ocean, or the aroma of a BBQ grill. How do you physically feel? Are you walking on a sidewalk, on a woodland path, or on a rocky beach? Can you feel the breeze on your face and the sun on your skin? Are you relaxed?


Music

Listen to calming music. Gentle instrumental music of almost any genre is soothing and you can also find tonal music that is created to increase dopamine and serotonin levels to lift your mood.


Guided Meditation

Listen to a meditation app such as Calm, Headspace, Simple Habit, or Ten Percent Happier. Many health apps and coaches offer guided meditations online and you can listen anywhere.


Practice Yoga

Yoga is not just for the physically fit. Everyone who has a yoga practice started with not knowing the forms and feeling unbalanced. Yoga classes are offered for all levels and are a great way to increase your awareness while creating stability and strength.


Take Control

When you have an important task or project to complete, maintain your focus by eliminating distractions. Turn off your phone or put it in another room, silence notifications on your computer, or disconnect from all electronic devices entirely.


Focus on Flavors and Textures

When eating, focus on the colors, textures, and flavors of the foods you are consuming. Chew slowly and savor every bite. This will force you to slow down, increasing your enjoyment and preventing overconsumption. Mindfulness when eating has been linked to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.


Mindfulness allows you to be fully present in your life. As you practice mindfulness you will find that you are more calm, able to accomplish your goals, and more aware of what is important to you. It is part of self-care.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Lisa Hammett, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lisa Hammett is a leader in health and wellness, stress management, and goal setting. After a 26-year career in the corporate retailing world, which left her stressed, burned out, and at her heaviest weight, she left the industry for a successful 16-year career in direct selling. During this time she developed her love of coaching. She also started her health and wellness journey, losing 65 pounds, and has kept it off for 11 years. After losing the weight, she became a health coach, for a global wellness company, and has been coaching members for the past 10 years, to achieve their weight loss goals. In May of 2020, she launched her Success Coaching practice, to help individuals who were struggling with anxiety, depression, and weight gain due to the pandemic. Her business has since expanded to life coaching. Client success stories include weight loss, improved health, stress reduction, creating a balanced life, development of sustainable healthy habits (mind and body), development of a laser-focused Vision for goal achievement, building strong confidence, improved relationships, and business success. Lisa is currently writing her first book, “From Burnout to Best Life.” which will be published later this year.

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