Authored by Cassie Rice, Certified Mindfulness Coach
Work-life balance has become the top driver of stress for employees, according to a survey conducted by LinkedIn. Most individuals have a desire to find that elusive balance but are struggling to actually maintain it on a daily basis. Personal and professional lives are always spilling into one another, impacting our relationships positively or (more likely) negatively.
As you log in to your first meeting or walk up to the line, what emotional load are you carrying from your personal life? As the workday transitions to home, what residual emotions are lingering from a stressful presentation or a tough conversation? Each day our decisions are impacted by the building emotion our daily lives create, which can change the way we truly want to react to others.
Working on the practice of Arriving Mindfully to anything you do can help create a habit of physical and mental calmness, allowing yourself some mental distance from whatever personal or professional emotional load you are carrying at any given time. There is never an absence of problems or issues, but we can continue to develop our ability to navigate those situations. If we are consistently taking the emotions from each interaction to the next for the entire day, we are not fully present in any of our interactions and frankly, it's exhausting!
To benefit from arriving mindfully, you must take time to reflect on how you are feeling, with a goal of focusing your mental awareness. This can be direct, like focusing on ones breath, or in-direct, like setting an intention for what lies ahead. We may walk through that door to greet our loved ones with a negative tone, unknowingly influenced by the day as we transition mindlessly in our thoughts, actions, and environments. Try implementing a few of these practices in your daily life to assist you in arriving mindfully, wherever you go!
Minute to Arrive Practice
A great way to arrive mindfully at work or at home is to take 1 minute while transitioning to check in with yourself. To do so, place your feet on the floor and lengthen your spine. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and begin to notice any sensations in the body. Look at those internal weather patterns. Ask yourself: do you have any underlying anger, frustration, confusion, doubt, happiness, hope or other emotion driving how you are feeling right now? Take this time to set an intention by asking yourself, “Who will I choose to show up as during this interaction?”
Three Minute Rule
It can be challenging to transition in a calm and positive way as you arrive home or walk out of your home office after the workday’s ups and downs. Before greeting your family, take a moment to center yourself with a cleansing breath. Then place the intention of full acceptance for the first 3 minutes of interacting with others. You are not there to judge, just there to simply be present. Refrain from pointing out shortcomings and focus on the positive aspects of the fresh situation.
The exercise of focused breathing places attention on ones breath and consistently reminds oneself to return to the breath if the mind begins to wander. If you have time to go deeper in meditation, try focusing your attention on parts of the body where stress and pain are prevalent, like your shoulders, back and feet, making sure to label feelings experienced. This acknowledgment of pain and discomfort through labeling, in the context of meditation, can create a space between sensations and our reactions to the sensations, helping us transition from daily tasks with greater ease.
In addition to being more mindful during arrivals and transitions as your day progresses, try implementing the practice of setting intentions. Start the day with an intention and make it a habit by doing it just after something you already do, like meditating or brushing your teeth.
Think of what matters most today, this week?
What do you want to see happen?
How do I want to treat others?
How can I nurture my wellbeing today?
What will honor my mental fitness today?
Using intentions can help train your brain to a pause before an important part of your day and determine what matters most. Remember, intentions guide your attention and attitude, hopefully assisting you to create a clear sense of direction, which can uncover a true source of happiness.
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