Jon Macaskill on Modern Day Mindfulness with Salesforce Military
Jon Macaskill, retired Navy SEAL commander and mindfulness coach, talks with Ann Weeby, Army veteran and the head of Salesforce Military and VP of work force innovation on the corporate relations team Jon shares exercises and practical tips for modern day mindfulness.
First, let’s try this exercise: think about the things in your life that are causing you stress, maybe causing some anxiety—whether family, finances, politics, or work. Now write them down. Notice what your body is doing—do you feel your heart rate or breathing rate increase? Muscles tensing? That is your sympathetic nervous system, your “fight or flight” system at work. This is your body’s natural response to stress, and being able to notice your body’s response is mindfulness. Now take a pause, and take a deep breath. Notice how the air feels as you breathe in, feel it expanding into your lungs, then slowly let it out. Take a few more deep breaths, paying attention to how each deep breath feels. Now, how does your body and mind feel? This mindful pause, mindful breathing, helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, your “rest and digest” system to bring calmness to the body.
This exercise is how you can take control of a stressful situation and learn to respond rather than react. Similarly, you may have a tendency to think about the 50 things to do in a day, and you try to do all 50 at once, you end up not being able to complete many of them. At the end of the day, when you look at that list of 50 things, and you may have only gotten a few of them done, you start to beat yourself up. Multitasking actually causes stress and anxiety on top of the errors and loss of productivity in corporate America, the attempt to multitask costs somewhere between 350 and $450 million annually.
By practicing mindfulness, it allows us to focus, get more done, and ultimately feel less stressed. But, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is defined as being actively and intentionally aware without being judgmental. Being present in the here and now, not worrying about what happened yesterday or what is still to come tomorrow.
Just like any other skill, mindfulness has to be practiced regularly. It’s important that you set aside time to focus on an anchor, whether that’s your breath, whether that’s a mantra, whether that’s a body scan or some other anchor that is meditation, but it’s a formal practice where the two come together that is mindfulness meditation.
Your mind will wander, that’s normal. You may still find yourself reacting to stressful situations rather than being able to take a pause, and mindfully respond. Yet, the more you practice, the more natural it will feel.
For a more in depth information on flexing your mindfulness muscle, join Jon and the rest of the Movement Rx Team for our next 21 Day Mindfulness Experience!