There’s nothing wrong with recalling our days in an effort to reflect and learn, or planning ahead in order to mitigate risk or prepare for success, but when we become consumed by backwards/forwards thinking, we miss the chance to make the most of the opportunities right in front of us.
Research from Case Western Reserve University shows that if you are present in the moment and fully engaged, your focus improves and you process information more accurately. Your short-term memory operates more efficiently when you're calm and not swamped with competing thoughts.
It’s common to think that multitasking is the only way to get through the increasing number of demands in our lives, but a Stanford University study proves that rapid task-swapping actually makes us less efficient than simply focussing on one thing at a time.
Imagine this: you need to complete 15 things in the next 15 minutes. You could try to do all 15 things at once and end up only finishing three. However, if you actually stop and mindfully move from one task to the next, you’re likely to complete more tasks, and at a higher quality.
Practising mindfulness also has biological benefits. Australian microbiologist Elizabeth Blackburn won a Nobel Prize for her work on telomeres, which are the protective tips of chromosomes (thread-like structures that carry our genetic information). She found that regular practice of mindfulness could help extend the life of telomeres, which in turn slows down our ageing process.
Put simply, practising regular mindfulness can deliver you many health and wellness benefits. It can reenergise you, improve your perspective, circuit break harmful thoughts, and provide an easier pathway to sleep. Additionally, our ability to emotionally regulate and to accurately process information all happens when we're fully present in the moment.