CEO Today - January 2023

T he practice of mindfulness and emotional cultivation is a proven cure for people who are on the verge of burnout. It offers a durable means by which business leaders can not only alleviate their experienced levels of stress and psychological suffering but also colour their broader lives with indelible happiness and real meaning. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. It is often described as a state of observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. Dating back to ancient times, the practice of mindfulness involves neither the cessation of thoughts, nor the retreat from everyday existence, nor the possession of any special skills or subscription to any theological beliefs. Rather mindfulness involves tools and techniques which allow us to observe our thoughts, feelings and experiences as the capricious phenomena they are. Just like changing cloud formations which float across the ever-blue sky, our perceptions, thoughts, emotions and experiences float across the ever-present wellspring of peace within us. The practice of mindfulness helps unveil this deep and stable reality within each of us. The benefits of mindfulness are countless. At a fundamental level, mindfulness is about developing our most crucial faculty – our mind. The apparatus through which all our experiences - thoughts, loves, goals, ambitions, attitudes, concerns, career, family, interests, tastes, sights, smells - are mediated. Hence, as the mind is superordinate, we must develop it in order to change how we perceive and experience the world. We’re faced with constant stress in our hectic and busy world. This constant pressure can lead to chronic anxieties, worries and fears – or psychological suffering, which inevitably has negative downstream effects on our physical health, career performance and personal relationships. The truth is that no one is immune to this – not even big and powerful CEOs and business leaders. Mindfulness gives us the means to simultaneously rescue ourselves from the insidious wildfire of negative thoughts and all associated emotions whilst, simultaneously, bringing our minds into a state of focused positive calm. As we develop our level of mindfulness, we become evermore rooted in this ground of calm, remaining there even as we continue to operate within the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. The result? A healthier and happier internal mental and emotional landscape, increased energy, improved focus, wholesome relationships, and enhanced productivity and performance. One way to practice mindfulness is through intentional visualisation. Where the mind goes, the person follows 58

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