Right now do you feel stress and pressure building? Do you feel as though you are multitasking at near the speed of light? If so, you are not alone. Two especially trying events intersect toward the end of every year.
First, business demands increase at year-end. During the last 6 to 8 weeks of the year project deadlines, business goals, budgets, and year-end reporting all come to a head, making us feel rushed and frazzled. Priorities for 2019 are also being finalized, and there’s urgency to get the new year off to a running start.
The second event is, of course, the holidays. Expectations surrounding family gatherings, travel, gift-giving, and holiday parties can be very high. As much as we may love the holidays, they can be extraordinarily stressful.
What better time to pause, reflect, and harness the power of mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
Simply put, mindfulness is paying attention to our moment-to-moment experience with an open and non-judgmental awareness.
Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D., expands on the core definition of mindfulness in an article in PsychologyToday.com titled “3 Definitions of Mindfulness That Might Surprise You.” We find these additional approaches helpful:
- Mindfulness is letting go of taking things for granted.
- Mindfulness means to return to the present moment.
- Mindfulness is the self-regulation of attention with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.
As Arden Coaching’s Laura Hansen, PCC, writes, “Mindfulness harnesses our capacity to be aware of what is going on in our bodies, minds, and hearts. It is knowing where we are, what we are doing, and what we are experiencing, rather than simply being on automatic pilot.”
How does mindfulness help?
There are numerous documented advantages to practicing mindfulness. Experts agree that the more you engage in the practice of mindfulness, the better you become and the more you benefit. Advantages include:
- Increased mental clarity and focus
- Experiencing less stress — and, importantly, staying calmer in stressful situations
- Improved short-term memory
- Enhanced leadership presence
How do I get started?
There are a number of excellent mindfulness meditation programs available. For more about meditation, check out “Just Breathe!” by Arden Coaching’s Lyne Desormeaux, PSYD, PCC. As you consider the options in your area or online, to begin, try these simple practices:
- First thing in the morning — before you check your phone, email, news, or turn on the TV — take a few minutes to sit quietly and be with yourself. Look out the window and listen to the sounds of nature or sounds in your home. Pay attention to your breathing, posture, and physical sensations. If no one else is awake yet, listen to the silence.
- Once or twice a day, pause. Close your office door or go outside for a two-to-five minute walk. Relax and come into the present moment. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and take a few mindful breaths. Notice the view from your office or, as you walk, the sky and the trees and the sensations in your feet and legs.
- After work, pay attention as you walk to your car or the train. Feel your feet on the ground and the air on your skin. Listen to the sounds around you. Notice any areas of tension in your body and breathe into them. In an intentional way, notice that you are making a transition. Can you simply walk — without feeling rushed?
For a more in-depth discussion of mindfulness in the workplace and practices and techniques, read the following articles by Arden Coaching’s Laura Hansen, PCC, “Mindfulness in the Workplace” and “The Benefits and How-To’s of Workplace Mindfulness.”
To learn more about executive coaching, leadership development, and mindfulness, contact us at [email protected] or 646.844.2233.