Automation or Mindfulness?

We’re bringing back another episode of Mindful Monday! The reason I thought about this topic was because I’ve been personally been feeling a little disconnected lately. Sure, my habits are still in check. Still waking up before dawn, meditating, praying and journalling. But there’s an aspect of being robotic that I’m still struggling with, specifically when I’m eating, driving or speaking to someone.

I’d like to use today’s post to discuss aspects of our nature that we need to be a little more mindful of, striking a balance between automation and conscious thinking, breathing more deeply and ways of working from home.

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When we should focus being mindful of
Things are that are closest to nature.

When we’re praying, when we’re cooking food, when we’re eating the food, when we’re watching the sunrise, when we’re in the shower, when we’re brushing our teeth, when we’re working out, when we’re spending time with family, when we’re out with friends, when we’re about to fall asleep or just after we wake up.

It’s incredible how often we tend to be on our devices when we’re doing any of those things. It seems like we are starting to lose the essence of our senses. We no longer pay attention to what we look at with our eyes, what we listen to through our ears, what we eat in order to taste, the way we look after our body, and what we talk about with other people.

When we aren’t being mindful of those aspects of our nature, we stop living in the present moment. We forget to be grateful. We forget to be thoughtful or appreciative.

What we need to do is be stricter with ourselves when it comes to our focus. We should start making the most of the time we have right now. We need a balance between doing things on auto-pilot and consciously living.

The balance between manual thinking and automation

It’s something I’ve thought about and discussed here before… How do we find the right balance between doing things on auto-pilot vs. using conscious energy. There’s definitely an efficiency trade-off to think about, specifically looking at what actions are worth putting in genuine effort.

We’re lazy beings. We always try to find the shortest way to get something done, which typically makes sense. That’s why our brains do the same when it comes to consistently repeated habits. We eventually end up training our subconscious to ignore being present.

We should probably look for what we find valuable and spend more of our energy being attentive to it. The last thing we want to do is allow ourselves to get complacent.

How Robotic Process Automation Can Help Businesses Success ...
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Breathing deeply

I know I know, I talk a lot about breathing. But you need to understand how fundamentally important it is. It affects every aspect of your life. From your ability to deal with anxiety, stress, fear, joy, happiness, to when you’re preparing for an interview, working out, walking up the stairs, and even having a cold shower.

All these activities require us to have a consistent influx and outflux of air. Well tbh, you need it all the time. But your ability to manage your breathing in those situations will allow you to perform much better than uncontrolled breath. It’s interesting how we often ‘run out of breath’ not because we need to inhale oxygen, but because we need to exhale carbon dioxide.

That’s besides the point. My point is, focus on your breathing more often. It’s easy to forget this little habit, because the body does it automatically. But it will truly make an impact on your health and ability to deal with challenges. I’m not saying that you should consciously breathe every second of the day, but when it’s necessary and when you can remember to.

Another consideration is how to stay mindful when we’re (working) chilling at home all day.

Working mindfully from home

Whether it’s studying, working or anything else that relates to being at home for most of the day, we tend to lose our touch with the present moment. In a way, we are less exposed to usual array of stimuli from being outside. That being said, we can often ‘forget’ to be as mindful when we’re working from home. Not that being in an office/classroom all day is any better, but the moving around is what makes all the difference.

When go outside for a quick walk, stare out the window for a bit or just decide to chill in the garden, it allows us to get some exposure to the natural world. I repeatedly talk about the benefits of spending time in nature, and it’s because of the way it forces you to be mindful. Even if you can’t go outside, find ways to focus on nature within your home (this could even include being more attentive when you eat or speak to friends).

Authors share their mindfulness tips for working from home
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What we should try and do if we can leave the house, is focus more on the leaves of trees and how their colours change, the clouds and the way they dance across the sky, the birds and how they sing to each other, the lil insects and bugs that are always flying around, or even the way the earth feels on our feet.

Giving our senses that stimulation will snap us back into the present moment; which will make us feel grounded, grateful and more energetic. If we take short 10 min breaks from our work and do this regularly, it will have such a significant impact on our ability to push forward. Go outside right now and try it out if you can. The world is yours for the taking.

The Skills You Gain From Experiencing Hardship

I haven’t been able to post in the past 2 weeks because Uni got the better of me. Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced tremendous discomfort or stress at some point in the past few months. In today’s post, I’d like to talk about the skills that I’ve developed because of that.

This will relate to my previous post on breathing, where I tried to encourage a mindfulness technique for maintaining calm. This time, it’s more about approaching difficulties with a growth mindset. Here are 5 key points that I’ve taken away from experiencing discomfort.

  1. Faith
  2. Resilience
  3. Patience
  4. Compromise
  5. Gratitude

Faith

Let’s start with Faith. Your fundamental beliefs and your values define the way you view the world. You need to have a sense of purpose, a why, otherwise you won’t understand the reason behind the suffering.

I’m grateful to be a Muslim, as Islam has shaped the way I engage with difficulties and finding a sense of purpose. The mindset and outlook I have towards my life experiences are largely shaped by my faith.

You’ve got to trust in the process. You’re exactly where you’re meant to be, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Keep this beautiful quote in mind:

“What’s meant for you will never miss you, what misses you was never meant for you.”

When you start accepting how much is out of your control, it brings a sense of calmness. Focus on what you can do. Focus on your perception. This brings me to the next point, resilience.

Resilience

I absolutely love the concept of resilience because it resonates with everything that I do. It’s about constantly trying your best, regardless of the setbacks and hardship you face.

It’s also important to understand that our failures are ultimately our greatest teachers. When we decide to face those fears and tackle the problems head on, we start to develop resilience.

It’s easy to give up. It’s easy to complain. It’s easy to blame others. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself. It’s easy to throw a pity party. But that’s not what leads to growth. That’s not what helps you succeed. That’s not what will benefit you in the long run.

Next time you experience something profoundly difficult or painful, remember how much it’s going to help you grow. Every day is just a set of new problems. It’s doesn’t get any easier, you just get better at solving it.

Patience

Being patient is another crucial skill you’ll need throughout your life. It’s something you will encounter in every single task you experience. Being patient is about training your mind to accept the inevitable. To slow down. To stay calm. To remain level-headed.

You need to be patient with the process. You can’t rush through and expect everything to work out. Life is more of a marathon than a sprint. You need to pace yourself and focus on your breath work.

Don’t get worked up on things that are out of your control. Focus on what you can do. Take it easy dude, you got this. Let’s see how adaptation plays a role in all this.

Compromise

Things almost always never go according to plan. You’ll realize that sooner or later. Compromising isn’t about lowering your standards. It’s about accepting that you have to change your plan when things hits the fan.

This is generally a combination of the previous points. With faith, resilience and patience, you can learn to rapidly adapt to unexpected challenges. Think about how many times things took longer than they should’ve? If you account for contingencies and plan for the worst-case scenario, you’re less likely to get overwhelmed.

Gratitude

Easily the most important skill (or value) to gain. If you view things from a lens of gratitude, everything is there to help you grow. You start appreciating the little things in life a lot more too. You realize how much you take for granted on a daily basis; be it your time, energy, wealth or health.

When you experience difficulty of any sort, focus on what’s going well in your life. I know this can be particularly challenging, especially when sprawling into negativity is so much easier. But really think about how blessed you truly are. Think about all that you’ve managed to gain or retain during the challenging time.

You’re gaining life skills. You’re more resilient. You’re more patient. You’re learning to work hard. You’re still breathing. You still have food to eat. You have access to the internet (and therefore, to education). You have access to electricity. To shelter. To warmth. To clean water.

Don’t ever forget about everything that you do have when things start getting tough.

It’s critical to establish honest communication with yourself (and those who are important to you). If you’re clear about what’s going well and what isn’t, you’ll have a better idea of how to prepare. You’ll also be able to articulate how you’re feeling to those around you; allowing them to assist you where possible.

This post just covers a few simple points to think about next time you experience something difficult. As I already said, life is just a process of solving problems; every day there’s going to be a new challenge.

Trust the process and have faith. Understand how this all builds up your resilience. You’ve got to remain patient and stay level-headed. You need to learn to adapt and overcome. You need to focus on what you have and be thankful. Failure is just a stepping stone to success. You got this!