This morning, I began the day by writing about my life, a certain part of it. The words on my page, prompted by questions from an online writing course, meant I completed one assignment. Like many, I signed up for this self-directed course at least a year ago with possible time available during this era of COVID-19 adjustments.
It took me about 20 minutes to pour out my thoughts on the page, not a lot of time when I consider the many available hours ahead to focus on work. It was time for mindfulness.
Mindfulness ranks as the most important skill to master in 2022, said Senior Features Writer Rebecca Ruiz in her Mashable article published on the last day of 2021. She pinpoints the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19, Omicron, climate change and the critical cultural contradiction of managing work responsibilities and family needs at all times, but especially now.
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally, so you begin to notice how insanely judgmental we are,” said Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., a researcher and founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MSBR).
Expanding on that perspective, “Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens,” according to the Greater Good magazine published by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkley.
However, mindfulness also requires more than in-the-moment, meaningful experiences. It calls for awareness and acceptance of daily challenges and ultimately, engagement with those issues, according to research presented in, “What do people mean when they talk about mindfulness?” by Ellen Choi, lead author of the paper. (Clinical Psychology Review, November 2021, Vol. 89).
In other words, as Forbes contributor, Alison Escalante, M.D., said in her commentary, “mindfulness is not passive.”
Think about how your day begins
These moments of personal writing cleared my head and provided an outlet for me to think about the questions at hand for exercise that was both fun and introspective. And I didn’t have to try again to meditate, the go-to option that works for many but not everyone, as author Jessica Stillman indicates in Can’t Manage to Meditate? Try These 5 Stress-Busting, Mind-Clearing Activities Instead.
The power of self-reflection before opening your email and sitting down at the keyboard is palpable. It requires discipline and determination to spend time meditating, writing to reflect or taking a walk. But – not that much time.
Now, as I sit at my keyboard ready to write and research my way through my PR day, I also tuned into my music of choice for the workday – Gregorian chant.
Why Mindfulness Is the Most Important Skill in 2022, R. Ruiz, Mashable, December 31. 2021
New Research Finds Most People Are Not Using Mindfulness Correctly, Alison Escalante, M.D., Forbes, December 21, 2021
10 Powerful Women of the Mindfulness Movement in 2021, A. Tucker et al, mindful.com, June 22, 2021
How Communicators Can Help Build Unity, PRSA staff, PRsay blog, May 26, 2021
Mindfulness in PR: Balance, Engagement and Productivity, Andrea Gils, PRSA Strategies & Tactics, October 2019.
What are your favorite articles or sources on mindfulness for writers or communicators?