What Mindfulness is and how it works.

mindfullness for engineers

Today’s world is moving at a relentlessly daunting pace & we are overwhelmed with constant information preoccupying our minds for considerable amounts of time during the day while being firmly fixed gazing at our screens.

At Forma Pro, we have measures in place to avoid instances of unforeseen overtime & overworking. The majority of our staff spend 8 hours per day in an office, & rather than foraging for food in the wilderness, they are still prone to suffer from the inevitable stress factor.

It’s a never-ending loop of processes consisting of communication, work, meetings, & study. The sedentary & deviating style of the Z Generation has led to the innate absence of harmonious spaces combined with a mentality that doesn’t allow us to seize the moment [carpe diem].  We are fortunate at Forma Pro to have a dedicated chillout zone. However, even in the zone messages are constantly flowing forcing us to crack on with the tasks at hand exacerbating the feeling of being the weakest link in the chain.

The world won’t wait for us while similarly the monotony of endless planning & problem solving inturn becomes ubiquitous.

How to consider the welfare of employees with this flow of information, affairs & other tasks?

The main way of stress management is the development of resilience. Resilience allows us to overcome the waves of  tension, dilemmas & conflicts time & time again. Here are some key aspects of formulating resilience:

 – The ability to notice oneself,

–  Understanding one’s current feelings,

–  Comprehension of one’s thoughts regarding the situation,

–  Take actions in accordance with our values,

–  Using effective tools for this.

Mindfulness is the concept with which we can fully understand these ethos. These are the abilities to self-observe, emotionally equate, & utilize soft skills. A way to learn how to notice what is happening with our thoughts & feelings, & to make conscious choices and to turn our attention to the moment.

It is necessary for us as a company to provide our employees with access to Mindfulness techniques through training workshops &  practice space. We are also focused on introducing the basic principles of compassion, openness & non-judgmental attitudes into the internal corporate culture.

In order to make it easier for you to understand what the essence of this tool is, it’s important to tell about where the term Mindfulness came from & in what contexts it is applicable

What is the concept of Mindfulness?

The term “mindfulness” appeared in English as a translation from the word “sati” in the Pāli Canon Scriptures.

“Sati” is a complex notion in the context of Buddhist teachings which means awareness of the present moment & vigilance (in relation to bodily sensations, mental processes). If you look at the hieroglyph – the designation of the term mindfulness – it consists of two parts: the one that is located above & has the shape of the roof of a house or the top of a mountain – means “now”. The lower ideogram means “heart” and / or “mind”.

How can we decipher this hieroglyph? The presence of the heart & mind in the present moment. Heart & mind working together in the present moment. Love plus wisdom can be born from this union.

In the 60s and 70s, the American psychiatrist John Kabbat-Zin proposed the use of Buddhist techniques in modern medicine outside of a religious context, first as a remedy for chronic pain & later for the treatment of emotional disorders. Thus, a tool was created from classical Buddhist meditation that allows its practitioners to live more fulfilling & content lives.

Furthermore, many people regularly practice informal mindfulness techniques in their everyday life intuitively because it is more satisfying & pleasurable to live this way.

What is Mindfulness practice?

When we practice mindfulness, we train our brain through conscious effort & exercise. Drawing an analogy with a gym, mindfulness is a kind of neurofitness. Through purposeful effort, we shift our attention to what we really want to achieve & gain.

There are several options for the formal practice of secular meditation, which defers our attention during the execution. At the same time, our intention of what we are doing in the moment & the non-judgment of accepting all our experiences is vital, even if during meditation we spend 99% of the time in our thoughts, the 1% when we contemplated these thoughts & remembered what the real purpose of the practice is, is important.

What does secular meditation comprise of?

  • We sit on a comfortable flat surface, keeping our back straight, but not tense, so that our feet rest on the floor.
  • We focus on sensations during breathing, or sensations in the body, sounds, thoughts coming into our consciousness.
  • Concentration.
  • Noticing distraction.
  • With gratitude to ourselves for noticing this distraction, we return our attention to the practice (breathing, body, thoughts, sounds)

Informal practice of mindfulness is a conscious shift in the focus of attention to what we are doing right now: the process of eating, washing dishes, writing code, listening to music, reading a book. Try now to track what is happening with your body, with your thoughts and feelings, right now, at the very moment when you are reading these lines. Try to concentrate as much as possible on what you are reading. How do you feel now? And now?

Mindfulness vs Mindlessness

Have there ever been situations in your life when you suddenly arrived or went to the wrong place to which you were intending to go? Has the previous weekend just become blank? Has your hand automatically reached for a cigarette, or a chocolate, or even a bottle of beer?

Mindlessness is a state of somnambulism, automatic assessments of the situation & our compulsive reactions to these assessments. In this state, we are drowning in our thoughts & emotions, we swipe pieces of reality in between completing tasks, completely immersed in experiences, planning, thinking. In our minds, the autopilot mode turns on and we lose touch with the context in which our life passes.

Mindfulness: The Way Out of the Trap

In an interview for Forbes magazine Elizabeth Prather mindfulness coach & founder of The Prather Group said, “The best way to speed up is actually to slow down.” 

What does it mean? In my view, this phrase exactly entails one of the traps that we fall into in the modern world. It seems to us that we need to try to do more, better, faster – while being completely bombarded with immersive thoughts in our head. At this point, we lose contact with our bodily senses.

Fatigue builds up. We will feel irritated & frustrated that we cannot work as quickly & as efficiently as we wanted to. We get tired while continuing to demand a lot from ourselves. We lose productivity, & along the way,the opportunity to live this part of our life.

Things happen and we cannot always influence nor predict them.

If we learn to STOP once in a while consciously, sitting on a chair or on a meditation pillow, focusing our attention on breathing / feelings / thoughts / sensations, it becomes much easier for us to stop & live in the process when the maelstrom of events keeps trying to drag us down.

We in turn become more productive & involved in what we do & develop a greater capacity to deal with adversity. The contentment also boosts one’s esteem.

That is what Mindfulness is in its essence.