There is a new tool in the business world that is believed to be the key to success: mindfulness. Mindfulness in hand with compassion are being taught in the workplace to help us reach our corporate goals and become more successful as leaders.
However, the true purpose of mindfulness is to help us obtain happiness, according to Matthieu Ricard. Richard left a successful career in cellular genetics to become a Buddhist monk. He believes that it is through altruism that we can reach true happiness. Altruism is living with the hope that others may be happy. This state of compassion can be obtained by practicing caring-mindfulness, which is exhibited through compassion. Caring-mindfulness must be practiced in every moment of our lives. Here are three ways you can start building mindfulness practices into your life today.
1. Take a deep breath
Taking a deep breath allows us to refocus and calm ourselves. You can begin this practice whenever you are about to enter an important (or even not so important meeting) or are in conversation.
The purpose of a deep breath is to allow you to re-center yourself. You will clear your mind of thoughts and feelings that might be lingering from past conversations or meetings. It will also help you avoid thinking about what might happen, instead of concentrating on what is happening here and now.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, you can use breathing as a mini-relaxation technique to allay fears and overcome stress. It just takes a quick minute to calm yourself using these easy steps:
Place your hand beneath your navel and feel the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe
Breathe in slowly
Pause for a count of three
Pause for a count of three
You can continue to breathe deeply for one minute, but just the one deep breath alone can help you practice mindfulness in a meaningful way. You can also try a more meditative approach. Sit comfortably and take a few breaths repeating “I am” as you breathe in and “at peace” quietly as you breathe out two or three times.
Visit our Guided Meditation for another exercise to practice.
2. Notice your feelings
We all have emotional triggers that can occur at any time and any place. Negative emotions are triggered as part of our primitive fight-or-flight response. By noticing your feelings, you will be able to learn how to manage those habitual reactions. You will be in control and respond intelligibly, instead of emotionally.
The starting point is noticing what’s happening when you are angry. You can learn to recognize emotions on the rise, such as a rush of adrenaline or heavier breathing. Once you feel the emotion coming on, you can stop yourself and take a breath. This will give you time to regain your composure and respond, instead of reacting due to emotion.
Mindfulness increases emotional intelligence (EI), the ability to recognize your own emotions, comprehend what your emotions are telling you, and understand how these emotions will affect other people. Your EI also affects your perception of others, so you can manage relationships and situations effectively.
According to a study on Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness and students, EI and mindfulness data showed a distinct relationship between mindfulness competence and improved general empathy skills. This in hand with improved social adjustment indicated a direct relationship between EI and mindfulness.
3. Understand how others feel
Noticing what others feel will help improve how you communicate. Considering what others are feeling allows you to more effectively deliver hard facts and have conversations, using mindfulness to help you express understanding even if you don’t agree with others. Compassion is a powerful tool, as your understanding can help heal hurt in order to build and maintain good relationships.
In an article appearing in Harvard Business Review, the Dalai Lama notes that the behavior of leaders does not just affect people’s lives in the workplace but how the world develops. We have to work together with the ultimate goal of making the world a better place. And in order to do so, we have to find ways to be happier. As part of this shared pursuit of happiness, leaders have to work to improve their compassion.
The Dalai Lama cites warm-heartedness as the ultimate source for happiness. He believes that while destructive emotions such as anger are related to ignorance, that compassion is related to intelligence. He also believes that compassion is something that should be taught. We all put so much stock in education, yet do not take time to strengthen our inner values. Building mindfulness practices can help you strengthen inner values.
To find out more about how mindfulness practices can help you improve your effectiveness as a leader, sign up for our free 30-minute consultation to explore your higher potential today.
For other valuable articles on Mindfulness practices, visit our Ultimate Guide to Mindful Leadership.
Ready to climb to your highest potential?
Sign up for a free 30-minute consultation and see which Ascent Leadership program is right for you and your organization.