“You will never have more time than you do right now.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness, because we all deserve to be at peace with ourselves…
In the social media age, technology advances every minute. In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we are more stressed than in the past. Everyone seems to be complaining that they do not have enough time in the day to do all the work that needs to be done. They are close to being ‘burnt out’. Even when they go on holidays some people can’t stop and relax because work is constantly calling them.
Making how we manage our time our PRIORITY!
Now, let’s stop for a moment and think about this. Consider this famous quote by H. Jackson Brown Jr. “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.” Is he right? Completely! What did these people do differently? They had a different perspective on things. Some of them, being wise as they were, knew how to master the art of mindfulness.
As you might have seen in our newsletter (if you haven’t subscribed, please send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can send you our newsletters), mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way to everything in our lives. Basically, it’s living in the present moment, seeing things as they are rather than what society has taught us to think of them. What this does is enable us to be more aware of our inner feelings, to react to situations based on what we really want rather than what we were told is right. This is freedom in a sense.
“You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know, and you are the one who’ll decide where to go.” – Dr Seuss
Dr. Seuss’s cleverness is absolutely correct and very applicable to mindfulness. The question is, how is mindfulness practiced? How is it applicable to work? What benefits can be reaped from being mindful?
The following is an example that we are all confronted with at some point. Not all of us always know how to react to it. The example is followed by an exercise that shows how we might become more mindful. Practicing this – if only a few times a week (a few minutes a day would be even better!) – will bring positive results in improving your work and home life.
Only we can control our own emotions. Let’s start doing this now!
You can’t control the way other people react to situations. You can, however, control the way you react to them. Imagine that you are on vacation at the beach (or skiing for winter sports fanatics). You are tempted to pick up your phone and have a look at your e-mail. After all, it has been a full 48 hours since you last checked! You know that you really should be keeping your mind off work. A negative e-mail might be stressful. Instead of worrying if the person who wrote the email might be mad at you for not responding ASAP, or worrying if your boss might be upset because you didn’t answer, you can think about what is in your control. How will you feel if you don’t work on your holiday? If you are gone for a week or two, will business just stop? By shifting your mind to what really matters, you are taking control of the situation. This can have a very positive outcome on your overall well-being whether at home or at work.
‘You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf’ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Try this exercise: Your mind tells you that you need to work more. You are worried about others judging you for not doing something (or commenting on your tan when you get back to the office). They will judge you for not being fully there if you manage to take some time off with your loved ones. In this case, your mind is being hijacked by your emotions. So, take a step back, take a deep breath and say to yourself “I can’t control what others think of me, but I can control how I feel.” Ask yourself if it will matter five years from now. This is how to avoid letting things that you can’t control take over your mind. This can help in every aspect of your life.
Breathe: breathing can change the way we react to situations
Now that you have taken control of what you are thinking, here is a more practical exercise that will take you a step closer to being mindful, calm and happy, no matter what. Breathing is an extremely important aspect of how we feel and react to situations. Often, when we are annoyed at a colleague or situation, we want to storm over to them and yell senselessly without breathing. We quickly run out of breath and are exhausted because of all the energy we just lost. How can this pattern be changed? When any sort of negative emotion arises at work (or in our everyday lives for that matter), we should stop, take a deep breath in thinking of the color blue (calm, cool, collected), and exhale the color red (anger, hatred, sadness). Do this ten times in a row and you will see how calm you become all of a sudden. Now, it might take a few tries for you to reap the full benefits of this, but once you do, you will never feel the same again. Great, right?
Practice, practice, practice…
Practicing mindfulness has helped thousands of people. Let it help you – at work, when you are mad at your boss or at your direct reports when things are not going your way. Mindfulness can make a huge difference in your lives.
Here’s to hoping you enjoyed this blog and we look forward to hearing from you either in a comment or via email email@example.com. Let us know if this helped you and what you would like to learn from us in the future so we can support you getting you from where you are to where you want to be. To help you grow further in your work lives and to help you achieve your full potential, our one -on-one coaching sessions are still available. We believe in you!
Celine from the MKB Excellent Executive Coaching Team