Working in communications – or any ‘round the clock' business – you’re constantly surrounded by interruptions that naturally occur with the ever-progressing digital age. Social media, instant email access and constant news streams via smartphones 24/7 only add to the distractions of our overwhelming, busy lives.
To try and address the balance, or find a way to manage our fast-paced lifestyles, Clearsilver director, Louise, and head of PR, Victoria, attended yesterday’s Leeds International Festival seminar ‘Staying Human in a Busy World’. Lead by world-renowned and celebrity favourite mindfulness expert, Gelong Thubten the talk aimed to elaborate on how meditation and mindfulness techniques can help us to focus and be more ‘present’ in an increasingly demanding world.
We entered the arena somewhat sceptical, yet open-minded about what we were about to experience. Instantly the room felt warm and calm. All the seats were occupied, with people – from students, academics and professionals – keen to learn how they could address the ‘noise’ of everyday life.
One element from Thubten’s talk that really hit home – especially in our line of business – was how, in the time he was in an intensive Buddist retreat (4 years), platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube were created. When he emerged from the retreat, he noticed a change in people’s obsession and addiction to technology, especially their smartphones.
In today’s world, social media is common place, and it’s hard to imagine what life was like beforehand. As the talk emphasised, and something we probably all know deep down, was how we base our happiness, and equally our clients’ success, on the amount of ‘likes’ and shares received on social media. Our individual experiences somehow need to be ‘liked’ and appreciated by others, before we can truly appreciate them ourselves.
We can’t deny the success and the benefits of social media. But is what we love about it also what we loathe? Is there a way we could take a step away from the addiction, the checking behaviour, that reassurance of knowing our emails, messages and DMs are just a scroll away? Gelong Thubten certainly gave us some food for thought on how to manage this as he took the audience through a step by step guide on how to meditate…
Thubten highlighted how meditation should be used to make us more aware, training us to engage in the present, rather than as a method used to ‘switch off’ and clear the mind. He talked about how practising ‘micro moments’ of mindfulness throughout a busy day can help us to engage more positively with our lives.
We can use mindfulness in all areas of our working day; on the train, bus or walking to work, in offices or whilst working from home as well as in the car. The aim is to be in control of your mind, be focused on the present moment – your breathing, your surroundings, your senses - and not let the stresses of the past or future interfere with your thoughts.
The hour seminar was extremely inspiring, and we’ll definitely take away a new approach to tackling the pressures and distractions of everyday life. We’ll aim to be more focused and more aware so we can be more present, more efficient, for our clients, as well as for our own mental well-being.