Mindfulness is a powerful way to keep yourself in the here and now. Rather than worrying about an upcoming sales meeting or lamenting on a deal you didn’t close, you stay grounded right where you are. And unlike meditation, which is an activity, mindfulness is a practice you can do anytime and anywhere.

Harvard researchers have found that people’s minds wander 47 percent of every waking hour. While some time to daydream and brainstorm is helpful, when your mind wanders too much, it can negatively impact your productivity. A wandering mind can also lead to stress and a bad mood, according to researchers.

When your mind starts to drift, mindfulness can bring you back. According to LaRae Quy, an author and former FBI agent, mindfulness can help you become more efficient and effective. Want to know more about the benefits of being mindful? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, where we share Quy’s thoughts on why it works.

1. Mindfulness improves your attention. You may find it difficult to focus on specific tasks—and that’s okay. Quy notes that the brain has limited capacity to process all the information that comes its way. Through mindfulness, you can increase the efficiency of brain pathways that process information coming from all the senses. To put this in play, try breaking down large tasks into smaller pieces. And instead of multitasking, just work on one objective at a time.

2. Mindfulness changes the brain. You may be familiar with neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming neural connections throughout its lifetime. Through mindfulness, you can literally transform your brain. For example, mindfulness can help you regulate your emotions when you feel anxious or angry. Quy especially recommends focusing on what you love about others, about your job or about yourself. This triggers the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that controls attention span.

3. Mindfulness improves your goal-setting ability. Setting the right goals is important, both in your professional and personal life. When you know what you’re working toward, you can often relieve substantial stress. Quy points out research that shows mindful people are the best at setting the right goals because they don’t waste their energy on goals that don’t align with their values or long-term interests. To make mindfulness work with goal-setting, think about your core values and what you hope to have accomplished when you retire.

4. Mindfulness increases gratitude. Another reason mindfulness can help reduce stress is that it improves your overall outlook. It helps you observe with compassion and a lack of judgement, says Quy. Mindful people also often realize that good times don’t last forever—but neither do bad times. If you feel stressed or upset, try acknowledging the situation rather than feeling sorry for yourself. And check your attitude, Quy adds. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, be grateful for all that’s right.

Mindfulness can keep your stress levels low and give a boost to your overall efficiency. When you are mindful, you can often focus better, set stronger goals and feel more satisfaction in your life.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: LaRae Quy was an FBI undercover and counterintelligence agent for 24 years. As an FBI agent, she developed the mental toughness to survive in environments of risk, uncertainty and deception. She’s the author of Secrets of a Strong Mind (second edition): How To Build Inner Strength To Overcome Life’s Obstacles.