Mindfulness: Your Key To Staying Productive This Holiday Season

It probably feels like mindfulness is an overused buzzword at this point. But 2020 have proven to be a year of unexpected hurdles for just about everyone, giving new context to the word. Blame it on the cocktail party of Twitter and your newsfeed, the flow of Zoom invites and text messages, or juggling the new work-from-home normal – our minds are managing a thousand tiny distractions every day. This constant tug-of-war for your attention can easily leave you feeling frazzled and unfocused, especially as the holidays approach.

That’s where David Nichtern comes in. He gets it.

“If you put a window in someone’s mind on an average day it looks like what we call monkey mind…it is just swinging from vine to vine, from topic to topic,” David explains.

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The idea is that our mind is habitually fragmented and if we want to feel more focused and at peace we have to learn to work with it. For David, the antidote to the frantic mind is a mindfulness practice – a collection of simple techniques to sway your mind back into the present moment. But David’s not hating.

“Our mind, when we sit down, is going to have energy to it. And I’ll say this now and I’ll repeat it; there’s no problem with that. We think that’s a huge problem. The only problem about it is we’re a little bit off balance and distracted. And we can work with that.”

So, there is nothing wrong with you. A jumpy mind is normal. Its just that when its too out of step with what you want to be doing – say working on a big client project – it can be frustrating and your decision-making skills can slip.

“If we bring mindfulness into what we do and we cultivate that, we’re synchronizing the sort basic aspects of our existence which is our body and mind,” David explains. And when you sync up with yourself you are better able to navigate the practical demands of work and life.

To help you start out a mindfulness practice, David breaks the basics down into three simple steps:

1.) Note your physical setup and notice how you sit.

It’s not about finding the perfect environment. So don’t wait to implement your mindfulness practice for the right time and place. When you’re feeling stressed or clouded, take a moment to pause and observe the space around you.

2.) Consciously place your awareness and attention on something neutral (ex: your breath).

It’s easy to let our awareness run eschew when we focused with intention. Take a moment to place your attention to the cycle of your breath. This can be through counting your breaths or it can be as simple as consciously breathing in and out.

3.) Recognize the myriad thoughts and emotions that come up and then return your awareness to step two.

You aren’t trying to get to some grand state as a result of these steps. You are just noticing your mind and coming back to a neutral state, again and again, over and over. That simple practice helps to harmonize your moment with your mind and that’s enough to change your overall experience.

When the holiday distractions start to creep in – hello, holiday deals and must-hit holiday parties – try to get back in tune with the tasks at hand, and try to calm that “monkey mind.” Remember: There will be a time for all those distractions, but maybe not while you’re trying to get work done.

Mindfulness is taking your attention and bringing it together in alignment with wherever you are, with whatever you’re doing,” David explains. “When those are in sync, everything you do is going to have a lot more clarity and focus.”

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Rachel Gregg FOLLOW >

Rachel is the content marketing lead for the CreativeLive Craft Channel. Her side hustle is floral design and her day job is awesome. @ms_gregarious.