I am a big fan and longtime practitioner of mindfulness. There is strong evidence that this age-old practice improves our stress levels, overall well-being, emotional intelligence, and a host of different things. But I will be the first to admit that tapping into the present moment when I’m knee deep in to do’s and riding the emotional rollercoaster of entrepreneurship can be challenging.
Mindfulness meditation is a bit like high altitude athletic training, where you stretch your skills and capacity to the max in a specific environment, while day-to-day life represents a stroll (or a harried pushing and shoving) through the market stalls and crowds below.
You have the natural capacity to be mindful (receptively aware) anytime, anyplace, but sometimes we need a little extra support or intention to apply this skill to new situations.
Simple Ways to Tune In
To cultivate more inner zen throughout the day, IN your day (no lotus pose, yoga mat, or 15 minute break required) try this simple quick check: One to three times each day, ask yourself, with genuine curiosity, “How am I?”
How are you in that moment – physically, mentally, emotionally, or energy-wise? You can try it now. There’s no need to analyze it. Keep it simple. What is the experience/sensation that most stands out? It might be subtle, but you might just be surprised by its obviousness when just a moment earlier you were completely unaware.
To implement this regularly it’s often helpful to use a specific cue (e.g., beginning and end of meetings) or a technology-based alert to remind yourself. The cue can also be a particular emotion or type of situation. For example during a difficult or unpleasant encounter you might notice you’re clenching your fists or feeling a lump in your throat.
Additional techniques for tuning in during your 9-to-5 include:
Unless you’re on a traditional Vipassana meditation retreat, mindfulness will not look like meditating in a pretzel-like pose for 8 hours a day. And it doesn’t have to. While mindfulness focuses on our being, it’s not mutually exclusive with doing. It’s how we are in the doing that is key.
I love sharing my love of mindfulness and offer corporate wellness workshops on basic concepts and practices applicable to the workplace. If you or your company is interested in learning more please contact me.