Mindfulness is not traditionally a term associated with business goals or achieving success. But study after study shows the effectiveness of focused attention on your professional and personal projects. What are the benefits of mindfulness? Research suggests that “meditation sharpens skills like attention, memory, and emotional intelligence.” And while you may not see the direct relation of meditation to your bottom line; it’s there.
Whether you’re a CEO or you’re in the middle of a career pivot, mindfulness can help you feel focused, balanced, and more prepared to tackle each hour of the day.
- Wake up with a morning song. If there’s an easier way to start your day, I’d like to know. As you rise, focus on the lyrics or on how the music makes you feel. Gear up for the day by starting on the right note.
- Repeat your affirmations. If you haven’t adopted personal (and professional) affirmations, you’re missing out. Find words or quote that speak to your journey. Studies show that repeating these affirmations can help you overcome feelings of doubt.
- Adopt a breakfast routine. Turn on the T.V. and spend a few minutes reading the paper or reflecting on the upcoming day. When you carve out time early in your day, you’ll be mentally prepared for what comes next.
- Take a walk. Mindfulness can happen at your desk or at home, but sometimes, taking a break in the outside air can open up new perspectives and ideas. As a mindful explorer, focus on outdoor experience. Notice the sunshine, the wind. When you let your other obligations float away, you’ll return recharged.
- Do a quick Yoga session. Why not spend an hour after work practicing your downward dog. Over time, this practice will help you achieve more control of your breath and your body will also benefit from the added stretching and exercise. Because Yoga combines both meditation and breathing, it’s a great stress reliever and mindful activity.
- Listen to your favorite song. Everyone has a song that speaks to them. Maybe it’s the lyrics or the beat, but turning on the song and letting your mind drift to positive thoughts and daydreams can provide you with healthy mind fodder.
- Breathe deeply. An easy and super relaxing way to improve any hour of your day. Begin by inhaling slow, deep breaths. Hold onto the breath for a moment, then release it, in a similar pace. Forcing your body to slow down and to enjoy the process of breathing is a wonderful activity that you can do anywhere.
- Create something. Make a green smoothie. Sketch on a notepad. Practice building websites. When you create something, you’re focused on that task. This can be incredible training to take with you in other aspects of your life.
- Read a poem. Take a moment to check out PoetryFoundation.com. If you sign up for their emails, you’ll receive a new poem in your inbox each day. What’s the purpose of reading a poem? You’ll absorb words written to inspire, enlighten, scare, tempt you. Allow the art of the expression fuel your day.
- Practice active listening. Just like active breathing, when you take the time to listen to what your fellow conversationalist is saying, you’ll come across as caring, trusting, and engaged. This is one of the easiest ways you can build loyalty with your clients, employees, friends, and family members.
- Focus on what you’re eating. Do you spend lunch seated at your desk? Do you enjoy your dinner in front of the T.V.? While you may not want to uproot all of your traditions, enjoying meals at a table can be a great way to relax and focus on what you’re doing. Enlist a co-worker or initiate family meal times. This is the heart of what mindful living is all about. Put away your work and the entertainment. Taste your food!
- Enjoy your coffee. Instead of taking your coffee in that paper to-go cup, take the time to enjoy your beverage. Sip slowly. Allow your mind to wander. Let go of all the things you could be doing in those five minutes it takes to drink the cup.
- Light a candle. Maybe this happens at night or in the mornings or on a rainy Sunday afternoon, but lighting a candle can bring warmth and energy into your environment.
- Find reasons to laugh. Those who take themselves less seriously often report lower stress levels. One easy way to do this? Laughing. Call up a friend or reminisce about memories with your coworkers or your partner.
- Make sleep a priority. Effective mindfulness relies on a rested body. Think of your body as a ship. With the proper care, the vessel is made to float. Just like the ship, your body operates at optimal levels when sleep, nutrition, and exercise remain foundational to your life.
What are your favorite ways to practice mindfulness? If you’re new to the practice, I encourage you to reach beyond your comfort zone and try something new!