Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, with compassion, and open-hearted curiosity. Through cultivating mindful awareness, we discover how to live in the present moment, rather than brooding about the past or worrying about the future.
I just read an article about mindfulness and it struck a chord with me. We are health care workers and if anyone needs to focus on the present moment and pay attention with purpose it’s us but it’s hard and it gets harder every day.
The Information Age has affected everything we do and there is a constant barrage and digestion of information. There’s a commercial on television that shows a woman running from her home to her car while texting with “bits” of information circling around her head. The commercial provides a great example of how social media and electronic devices like smartphones, iPads and laptops are increasing our multi-tasking skills but decreasing our ability to concentrate.
If you want to see it in action go to a restaurant and look around. Count the number of people talking to one another and count the number of people using an electronic device either texting, talking or playing. The number of people using an electronic device will meet or exceed the number actually sharing a conversation.
I’m guilty myself. I take my work home with me every night and I spend time responding to emails and texts on my smartphone. It’s really too easy not to. The phone is there, the emails need to be answered and it makes the to-do list for the next day that much shorter. I make a point to actually turn my phone off and put it away every night but I probably don’t do it soon enough.
Last week I was responding to an email and my son was talking to me at the same time. At one point my four-year old son said “Daddy, pay attention”…that was my clue that I need to be more mindful.