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Mindfulness and Leadership: How Women Leaders Benefit

As we continue our conversation about well-being in the workplace, I want to focus on mindfulness and how it impacts how we lead in work and life. Now is the time of year when kids go back to school or college, work ramps up, and life speeds up.

Are you like me? In the weeks leading up to September, my mind starts racing with all the “to-dos”: for my kids, for my spouse, for my career, for my parents, and on and on. I start making lists, organizing, and getting ready for the hustle. And, while I’m doing all that, I forget about myself.

I’m just as guilty in my work. Making sure everyone around us has what they need, every deadline is met, and every opportunity is fully taken can take a toll on us as leaders. I have gotten myself overtired, run-down, sick, and seriously grouchy many times throughout my career, from not stopping to be mindful and in the moment for myself.

Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Here are the tools I have developed over the years to keep me grounded during those frenzied times:

  • Awareness- Pausing and understanding what’s happening in my environment and my mind helps me keep calm

  • Acceptance- Being kind to myself by accepting the busyness and reminding myself that I can take one step instead of climbing the entire staircase

  • Mindful meditation- I use guided meditation each evening to help my mind wind down and my body relax.

  • Breathing exercises- When things feel overwhelming, I use breathing techniques such as box breathing and the 4-7-8 breathing to help me be still, present, and in the moment.

  • Mindful exercise- Walking and swimming are my two go-to’s for mindful exercise- being out in nature, and the rhythm of steps or strokes can help keep focus in the present.

  • Connections- One of the most important tools I have for mindfulness is time with friends and family. Getting coffee with a colleague or taking a walk with a friend goes a long way to grounding me, keeping me present and lifting my spirits.

  • Self-coaching/journaling- Another critical tool, self-coaching helps me see where my thoughts are, how they are serving me, and gives me the opportunity to redefine my thinking. Journaling can often start the process of attending to my thoughts.

These tools have helped me in so many ways, and the benefits range from better efficiency, better productivity, and yes, a better disposition. Now that I lead my own company, they are part of my business strategy for staying focused, fully in the moment for my clients and stay true to myself.

How will you incorporate mindfulness into your daily life?

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