Book Review: Mindfulness in 8 Weeks

man practicing mindfulness on beach at sunset

Upon stumbling across an intriguing book called Mindfulness in Eight Weeks by Michael Chaskalson, I became truly convinced of the importance of mindfulness. In my last blog post, I talked about mindfulness as a powerful skill and a transformative way of living.

After this read, I realized that mindfulness can be learned and practiced every day, anywhere — it’s not just something to be used in  meditation or yoga, or before a job interview or networking event. It’s a skill that can be adopted by anyone in order to achieve greater success.

In this unsettling time of global health concerns, a volatile economy, and a dramatically changing labour market, we need to be mindful of our breath, our emotions and reactions to events, and our thoughts. Unproductive and negative patterns of thought, behaviours, or actions can breed negativity and fear. However, positive and empowering thoughts fuel healing and harmony. Your business plan might change, your priorities might shift, or your leadership may require mindfulness. However, you can stay centred, remain informed, think creatively and strategically, and trust that change is working out for its highest good.

Are You Living on Automatic Pilot?

The Week One chapter on “Automatic Pilot” talks about how we go through our busy lives without really noticing the important things, and without being tuned into our experiences on a deeper level. On automatic pilot, we become overloaded and neglect the important things. For instance, sitting and having dinner with loved ones can often feel like just a necessary and rushed experience. It is possible, though, to have this simple tradition feel like a nurturing experience. If we take the time to mindfully sit and notice the sights, smells, and textures of the food prepared, and the way we feel while engaging with others, we will more fully appreciate the experience. We will derive greater meaning and interconnectedness with our loved ones.

The author cautions us to be mindful of some habits or routines that pave the way for this automatic pilot response. For instance, how often have you caught yourself falling into these habits?

  • All-or-nothing thinking
  • Mind reading
  • Overgeneralization
  • Should have, could have, would have statements
  • Mislabelling or labelling
  • Fortune telling
  • Filtering
  • Blaming
  • Catastrophizing

And the list goes on…

How often have you noticed these same patterns of thought demonstrated by your clients? Do you or they recognize how these distinct patterns may have impacted their job search or career progress?

Being mindful or aware of these patterns is the first step to change. Being on automatic pilot can trigger certain emotions or reactions. The global events of the present time are causing people to react in different ways — overcompensating, self-protecting, worrying, or catastrophizing. Yet, if we practice mindfulness, times like these can cause us to appreciate the special people and tender memories in our lives. We come to learn to live with less while uncovering our tenacity.

Chaskalson believes: “When you’re aware of your thoughts, feelings, sensations and impulses from moment to moment, that can open up much more freedom.” (p. 45). We can avoid falling into mental ruts that have caused us difficulties in the past and we’re able to respond more lovingly, non-judgmentally, and flexibly. We can choose to de-stress and let go of negative thoughts and mental patterns in exchange for optimistic ones.

Adopting Mindful Attitudes

Here are positive habits / attitudes to adopt for greater mindfulness:

  • Non-judging
  • Non-striving
  • Non-attachment
  • Acceptance
  • Patience
  • Trust
  • Openness
  • Curiosity
  • Letting go
  • Gentleness
  • Non-reactivity
  • Loving-kindness

Taking Good Care of Yourself: An Essential Part of Mindfulness

Being kind to your body, mind, and soul is always important. It can start with tuning into where we store stress in the body and letting it go with deep breathing. It could mean taking a break with exercise, having a cup of hot tea, or simply practising good hygiene and healthy eating habits. Self-care starts with self-love and self-respect, which will help us to extend those feelings to others.

Like many of you in recent weeks, I have been stunned to find the aisles cleared out when grocery shopping. To me, this behaviour represents fear or demonstrates the mindset of lack vs. abundance.

Yet, there is no need to fear — the universe provides when we do our part. We need to be grateful and share our resources rather than hoarding them. We have the power of choice and the power of trusting in our Higher Self to do the right thing.

Maximizing Growth and Meaning Through the Choices We Make

Instead of watching disturbing or sensationally false news reports on television, we can choose to take a long walk. Rather than living in isolation, we can choose to give our loved ones or friends a call. Instead of feeling out of control, we can choose to spring clean the house or donate unused belongings. Instead of pushing ourselves harder, we can reflect upon and appreciate our strengths and client successes. Rather than blaming others, we can choose to adopt empathy and compassion.

Adopting a Resilient and Choice-Driven Mindset

 “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” – Robert Schuller

This particular saying has always inspired me to remain focused and resilient in navigating turbulent situations.

We can choose how to respond to global events and how we engage with our loved ones, clients, colleagues, and friends. I believe that when we replace fear with love and compassion, negativity and hopelessness can be eradicated, healing the world on multiple levels.

Let’s all do our part. Remember, we’re in this together.

Lori A. Jazvac is a passionate, award-winning Master Certified Résumé Strategist and Certified Employment Strategist through Career Professionals of Canada. As a multi-certified Master Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Coach, she specializes in helping clients navigate challenging career transitions. In 2013, an empowering vision inspired Lori to launch Creative Horizons Communications, a holistic career services firm where she virtually supports jobseekers around the globe to embrace their next career milestone. In her spare time, Lori enjoys dance, blogging, watching comedies and reality shows, yoga, and taking long walks in nature.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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