I started an online course called “Mindfullness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance” at Monash University on FutureLearn. (Name of the course is a mouthful, hence I decided to shorten the name as referenced in this post) These are my notes from Week 1
Mindfulness means being engaged and present in the moment. We are usually mindful during the activities that we enjoy. When we are not happy is when our mind wanders off (to worry, thinking about the past or the future) and so that is when we need to be mindful.
Notice that mind has wandered off, and bring it back to the present moment.
When we are not mindful, we are in default mode, where the mind wanders, mostly thinking about past or future, causing stress (and not being productive)
Attention Deficit Trait : When we multi-task, we are working on one thing and thinking on five other things. Or getting distracted by the phone call, or knock on the door. It activates amygdala so much that we're getting to a sort of a chronic fight or flight response
Multitasking is an illusion
Attentional Blink : quick pause when we switch the context. During this short 0.2=0.5 seconds, we are not paying attention to anything at all.
To practice mindfulness, we need to manage the environment as well (Turn off all the alerts on the computer and/or phone)
Stress performance curve : Zero stress may mean we are apathetic, little bit of stress is good, motivates us (Top of the bell curve) and more stress, then reduces the performance.
Mindfulness helps reduce the stress, but that doesn't mean it impacts performance (based on the stress performance curve) rather when we are really focused, we are “in the zone” (or flow state) and have highest performance.
allostatic load : when we're activating the stress response when we don't need it, it produces a wear and tear on our system that's called allostatic load. This causes immune problem Cardiovascular problems etc. mindfulness is that it helps to switch off the inappropriate activation of that stress response and takes off a lot of that allostatic load.
stress actually accelerates the aging on the level of the DNA and mindfulness has even been found to actually start to improve genetic repair and slow down that aging process.
Mindfulness Journal : Write about mindful experiences and unmindful ones too. The aim of this is learning, not criticising ourselves for not getting it right. Mindfulness is about being curious and accepting, rather than judgemental, and your journal should reflect this approach.