Productivity and Focus with Proven Mindful Exercises | Patrick Howell | Skillshare

Productivity and Focus with Proven Mindful Exercises

Patrick Howell, International Best-Selling Instructor

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4 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. What is a Mindful Practice?

    • 2. Sound Concentration to Increase Focus and Productivity

    • 3. Calm and Concentrated Start to Your Day

    • 4. End the Day Leaving Stress Behind


About This Class

In this class you'll enhance your focus and productivity through Brief Mindfulness Exercises


1. What is a Mindful Practice?: So what exactly is a mindful practice? The natural tendency of the mind is to either be thinking forward or reflecting and ruminating on the past, either anticipating, worrying, fantasizing, solving problems that that may or may not arise in the future. Mindfulness has a practice positions you to be able to to redirect your awareness to more healthy and a more healthy and a more therapeutic place. Mindfulness is the act of paying attention in a very specific way. It's the active paying attention on purpose, paying attention to your present moment experience, whatever that is, and paying attention in a non judgmental way. While studying mindfulness and while working on building up my own mindfulness muscles over many, many years, and then in teaching mindfulness exercises and interventions to coaches as well as personal clients, I found that the coaching profession in general, myself included, has not done a particularly good job at making the term a mindfulness practice or meditation practice, making it a tangible concept. And I believe that that one of the reasons is because we haven't stressed the most important word in a mindful or meditation practice, and that is the word practice. You see mindfulness, a mindfulness practices similar to any other practice. Any other form of practice, like an exercise practice, a physical exercise practice. You practice on purpose in a specific way, and you don't necessarily practice so that you can be really good at practice. But you practice so that that purposeful and specific practice makes you better when you need to be better. So let me give you a for instance. My young son is involved in wrestling, so he has wrestling practice a few hours every week he goes to his wrestling practice. He practices, and then he leaves. And the purpose of that intentional practice time is to build up his his wrestling muscle to condition him to enhance his ability to be a better wrestler. When the referee blows the whistle and the chaos on the map begins, practicing mindfulness is very similar. A mindful practice, in essence, simply means that you purposefully set aside time to engage in mindfulness activities or meditation exercises. You use that time to condition your ability to keep your mind in your thoughts. In the present moment you use that time. Sometimes it's only a quick minute or 30 seconds or two minutes or five minutes. But you use that time to build up your mindfulness muscle and regardless of how long in duration the exercises or whether it's a formerly planned out meditation or a more mindful in the moment experience a mindful practices there to condition that thought and awareness muscle that you have and to condition it to be able to stay focused on and to pay attention to the present moment and do it in the non judgmental way. And we do this simply because a mindful state of being positively impact, your overall psychological physiological and for many people, their spiritual well being. So just like I can now see my young son's body changing in growing mussels from his wrestling practice in mindful practice that includes specific exercises and that is performed consistently will begin to create shifts in your your level of stress and your mindful conditioning practice will help you reduce ruminating and worrisome thoughts. A mindful practice enhances overall focus and cognitive flexibility, as well as having the added benefit of increasing your overall satisfaction in relationships. So while you're not quote unquote practicing mindfulness through structured meditations, 24 hours a day, the small amount of practice that you do put in 5 to 20 minutes. Based on the interventions in this glass, this small amount of time will begin to condition you to be more mindful overall in every aspect of your life. The structure or the framework of the exercises in a mindful practice are very, very simple. The work, the actual work, the actual conditioning comes by you noticing when your thoughts are either back there in the past or your thoughts air in the future and then grabbing hold of those thoughts and steering them, redirecting them back to the present moment. And that's where the conditioning part of a mindful practice comes in. Throughout the training, you're gonna be guided through specific interventions and exercises that, in some form or fashion, help you to guide into redirect your attention back to the present moment. Experience 2. Sound Concentration to Increase Focus and Productivity : I mentioned to you in the previous video that I am going to be guiding you through walking you through specific exercises and interventions that are designed to help you grab hold of your attention. Your focus. Maybe, if it's out there in the future, running ahead of you, or perhaps if it's back there in the past wandering and to grab hold of the attention and then to channel it back and to funnel it back to the here and now to the present moment. This exercise, which is commonly used in dialectical behavioral therapy, is referred to his mindful bells or sound concentration. And it's used many times for clients who are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety . Maybe they're experiencing monkey mind. Their thoughts all are all over the place, and this intervention is used to help ground the client to help center the client to lower that anxiety level. Lower that stress level. The aim of the exercise is with your eyes closed to focus your complete attention on the sound of the Tibetan belt until it fades off completely, and once it does fade off completely, a new bell will begin, and then you focus your attention on that bell until it completely dissipates. I'm going to play the mindful bells in just a moment, but before I do, I want to mention that there are two downloadable audio versions. Just audio versions of this exercise for your personal use and for your use with your clients. The first version is the three minute version, which we're going to explore in just a moment, and you'll have an opportunity to try it out. The second version is a nine minute version, and that's for those of you who wish to deepen your practice in this sound concentration area. So let me go ahead. I'm going to start the mindful bells way, way, way, way, way, no way, way. 3. Calm and Concentrated Start to Your Day : the way that you breathe, in particular, slowing down your breath. It can impact your mood greatly box breathing or square breathing, a meditative technique. And in our case, we happen to use a circle for this so we could call it Circular Breathing has the effect of lowering stress and anxiety. It's a breath meditation, and for this particular exercise it will only last about six minutes. And I want to mention that this is also a downloadable lecture, just in case you want to download it to your phone on your iPad and be able to use thieving jewel aspect of this with your clients as well. So they begin the exercise. Just sit comfortably straight in a chair with your hands in your lap, in your palms facing upward. Readjust your posture if necessary, to make sure that your spine is aligned and that you're sitting up street thistles going to ensure that you're able to get a full inhale in a full exhale prior to beginning. Exhale all of the oxygen from your lungs, so this is a counting breath where you'll inhale for the counter for you'll hope for the counter for Exhale for the kind of four. Hold again for the counter for and then inhale again for the counter. For you'll find a rhythm in your counting. Similar to this inhale 234 Hold 234 Exhale 234 Hold 234 Inhale 23 Fear Hate 234 And once you find the rhythm, you'll find this to be extremely therapeutic and relaxing. One of the great things about this exercise is that many clients also report, in addition to keeping them mindful in the present moment and lowering stress and anxiety that it also helps with certain sleep disorders and insomnia. Box breathing or square breathing can be a tremendous exercise if you are having trouble focusing in sleeping if you're having trouble with restlessness throughout the day. So I'd recommend as a mindfulness exercise using this breathing technique this counting technique at least two or three times during the day as a way to lower stress and to keep you present in the present moment. So I'm going to stop talking now, and the breathing visual will continue for six more minutes. - Way , way, way, way 4. End the Day Leaving Stress Behind: The objective of a mindful body Skin exercise is through this meditation to bring awareness to any physical sensations that you experience in the various parts of your body and also to help you develop awareness and bring. Relax ation to both your body and to your mind, no. A full and complete body scan meditation can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. However, you can, of course, feel free to shorten the amount of time that it takes for a body skin on any given day simply by focusing on specific areas of your body. If you have less time, perhaps you can focus solely on your stomach area or your chest or your shoulders, perhaps your face or your head. While you're performing the body scan, see if you're able to just notice what it is that you feel what it is that you since and notice those things without judgment. For instance, if you become aware of a slight pressure in a certain area of your body, a slight tightness or maybe a warmth or tingling sensation, see if you're able to notice those sensations without labeling them as they should be there or they shouldn't be there. I can't wait till they go away. Or how long has this been here? Just noticed them. So to begin the body skin, lie down in a comfortable position and while breathing in through your nose and exhaling either through your nose or your mouth, take several long, slow, deep breaths in fully inhaling and then exhaling slowly. Begin to disengage your mind from your busy thoughts or you're busy. Ideas. Gently close your eyes and bring awareness to your body. Notice how your body feels in this very moment. Take notice of any tension within your body and noticed the areas of your body that are experiencing this tension. Take notice of any areas of your body that are particularly comfortable or relaxed and see if you can just notice the's areas without judgment. Now bring awareness to your left leg into your left foot. Notice any sensations occurring perhaps in your toes or on the top of your feet? Is your foot cold? Maybe it's warm. Perhaps there's a tingling sensation. Continue breathing and just notice whatever sensations air there. Become aware of your calf muscle of your knee and of your left thigh and as you breathe and in your mind's eye, see your breath moving down into your left leg and as your breath moves down into your left leg, allow that leg to become heavier into sink deeper into the better to the floor. Now bring awareness to your right leg into your right foot. Notice any sensations occurring in the toes of your right foot. Continue breathing and just notice whatever sensations there are. Become aware of your calf. Muscle your knee in your thigh. Notice any feelings or any sensation, any tightness in that area. And as you continue to breathe again in your mind's eye, see your breath moving down into your right leg and as your breath moves down into your right leg, allow that leg to become heavier into sink deeper into the better into the floor. Next, shift your attention to your hips and notice. If there's any tension in this area, it's not uncommon for attention or tightness to build up in the hip area. Whatever sensations you do, notice again. Breathe into that area of your body and then allow your hips to get heavier and to relax and sink. If your mind starts to wander at any time during this meditation, Gently acknowledge your thoughts and then redirect your focus back to the body. Skin skin for any sensations within your stomach, notice your stomach and become aware of your abdomen as it rises with each in breath and then falls with every exhale. Now bring your attention to your lower back. Notice any sensations or any discomfort in that area of your body, and whatever you notice, just acknowledge it and then breathe into that area of your body. Move your awareness into your upper back in your shoulders in your chest. Breathe into this area. Become aware of any sensations or in particular, any emotions that you hold in this area. If you notice anything coming up for you, just be aware of it and acknowledge it and then gently let go of any thoughts or judgments . As you're now centering your focus on your chest area, notice the feeling and perhaps the sound of your own heartbeat. See if you're able to connect with your heart on a deeper level while you're in this relaxed space. Not bring awareness to your left arm to your hand into your fingertips with the thousands and thousands of nerve endings in your hands and fingertips. Notice any sensations in that area. Don't attempt to force your noticing. Just be present And aware of this mindful experience, shift your focus now to your right arm into your right hand and finger tips and notice any sensations in this area of your body. Now guide your attention to your neck area. A lot of tension is carried around in the upper back and neck, and if you notice tension, breathe into that area and allow that area of your body to relax. If you happen to notice a heightened sense of attention within your neck, try telling yourself that my shoulders and my neck are now relaxed and comfortable. Bring your awareness now to your face to your nose, your mouth in your eyes. Allow your face to relax into soften. If you're experiencing any tension within your face in your mind's eye, allow your breath to move into that area and gently whisk away any tension that you have now. As you move your focus to the top of your head, notice any sensations, any tingling sensations, perhaps that are going on and take notice of how clear your thinking is become aware of how comfortable and how at peace you feel in this very moment. So feel free to stay in this comfortable body scan position for as long as you like. And when you are ready, begin by wiggling your toes. Tighten your calf muscles, squeeze them tight and then release. Tighten your thighs release. Stretch your arms out and clench your fists in the ball. Allow for a big yawn, a big stretch and then gently open your eyes. So before getting up, just pause for a moment and take notice of the experience that you just went through. Try not to grade your experiences being successful or unsuccessful. Just notice it for what it waas.