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Mindfulness has become hugely popular, and for good reason! There are many benefits to mindfulness that bring about noticeable change. The benefits of a regular and consistent mindfulness practice are overwhelming. Especially in moments of stress, this emotion-regulation tool brings about peace in the storm.

Imagine how Salem, Oregon would be different if every leader, business owner and coach made time for mindfulness.

As a leader, it’s especially important to be able to stay calm and lead your team out of a crisis–aka all of 2020. The inner peace that mindfulness brings you is ideal in helping you through such situations. 

By practicing mindfulness for just 10 minutes a day, you’ll enjoy the benefits that come with a consistent routine.

There are a number of easy ways to dive into a mindfulness practice. 

Mindfulness Meditation 

Mindfulness meditation is a powerful way to embrace the miracle of mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zinn (an expert in mindfulness) defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to come to the present moment with awareness. There is no goal. The goal isn’t even to have no thoughts. It’s nearly impossible to have no thoughts. So, don’t worry when your mind wanders.

Discover how mindfulness meditation is as simple as breathing:

  1. Get ready to meditate. Find a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably on the floor or in a chair. Sit upright but remain comfortable. You can keep your eyes open and focus on one spot in front of you, or you can shut your eyes.
  2. Next, focus on your breathing. Feel yourself inhaling. You can even think to yourself, “Oh, here I am, inhaling.” Exhale. Notice, “Oh, now I am exhaling.” Try to do this consistently.
  3. Notice when your mind wanders. Your mind will naturally wander. The moment that you notice your mind wandering is the truest moment of awareness.
  4. Bring your focus back to your breathing. You can gently return your focus to your breath. You haven’t failed at meditating. In fact, you’ve succeeded! 

Mindfulness meditation strengthens focus – a change that occurs after just a couple of weeks of consistent meditation.

If you tend to be an anxious person, meditation is the right thing for you. It may seem daunting to sit quietly for more than just a few minutes, but you can work your way up to a time that you’re comfortable with. If you can stick through a sometimes-uncomfortable beginning, a steady meditation practice will decrease anxiety the more you do it. 

Mindfulness Practices 

Depending on your style and preferred coping skills, you can develop a mindfulness practice that consists of engaging activities that work for you. 

By setting aside dedicated time to practice mindfulness each day (start with 5 minutes!), a residual calmness will wash over the rest of your day.

Try these mindfulness practices:

  1. Sort buttons. One fun mindfulness practice requires one big jar and a lot of buttons. Dump out all of the buttons and then organize them into whatever categories you want. Arrange them by size, shape, color, in order from smallest to largest, or anything you want.
    • The point is to get lost in the moment and focus on what is right in front of you. Instead of leaving your current moment and jumping back in time or far into the future, try seeing what it feels like to really be here right now.
    • Arranging buttons may not seem like much, but you might find that it’s the break you really need.
  2. Pursue creative activities. When you embrace your creativity and pursue creative endeavors, you can practice mindfulness.
  1. Try coloring in a coloring book for 10 minutes.
  2. You can paint a painting with your favorite colors and pay careful attention to each brush stroke. Be intentional with each color. Really feel what it’s like to hold a paintbrush in your hand.
  3. Get back to nature. Perhaps you need a break to go breathe fresh air in nature. Whether you take your dog to the dog park, head to the beach, or go for hike, immersing yourself in nature is a great way to practice mindfulness.
  1. There is something very healing about being outside and feeling free.
  2. Spend time each week in nature, observing the wonders of life going on around you. 

Mindfulness in Your Daily Life 

If you don’t want to carve out specific time to do a mindfulness activity, you can find ways to seamlessly integrate mindfulness into your existing daily routines.

Try these strategies:

  1. Start by brushing your teeth. While you brush your teeth, try focusing on the bristles on your gums, or the taste of the minty toothpaste on your toothbrush. Maybe you can smell the minty freshness filling your mouth. Maybe you hear the bristles brushing in small circles, just like your dentist always reminds you.
  2. Take your dog for a walk. While you walk, simply focus on details of the landscape right in front of you. Try not to bother yourself with the typical commentary that occurs throughout the day. As you walk, observe.
    • Observe the colors of the leaves, the sounds of the cars, and the barking from other dogs as you walk past them. You can focus on your heels hitting the ground, and then your toes.
    • Simply take in, with all of your senses, exactly what is occurring in the present moment.
    • When your mind wanders, simply notice and return your attention to what is going on in the present moment.
  3. Eat mindfully. Mindful eating is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness. So frequently, we find ourselves rushing through our meal, talking with others, or even doing work while eating. Rarely do we truly pay attention to each bite we take and each taste we taste.
  4. Pay close attention to your food. Take in each smell and texture of every bite. 

Outstanding leaders practice mindfulness. And their team members receive the benefits of this practice.

By practicing mindfulness, you’ll be able to retain an open mind and clear head. When facing obstacles, you won’t be met with stress. Instead, a consistent calm will remain in the moment and it will be easy to focus on the task at hand. 

Because mindfulness so improves attention, you may begin noticing things you’ve never seen before.  Attention to detail is a skill best developed through mindfulness. 

You’ll also notice greater feelings of fulfilment and fewer feelings of pressure or stress. Your ability to regulate emotion, manage stress, and stay calm will radiate from you.

This sort of energy is contagious, and soon your whole team will also feel at ease. Mindfulness will enable you to create a culture of calm. By doing so, you’re creating a team of people who are secure and willing. This can lead to powerful new ideas that will continue to make the world a better place.

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