This week’s mental resilience challenge sounds easy in theory but many find it difficult in practice. Most of us have become non-stop Human Doings. We attach our value and worth to how busy we are. We may think that if we sit and relax and stop and breathe, we are not making progress.
I want to use this week to challenge that thinking and to give us all an opportunity to come back to ourselves as Human Beings. How do we master ourselves in the midst of stress and challenges? One way is to learn to calm our minds on demand. Imagine being in the middle of a very tough circumstance. Yet, in the midst, you are able to take a few deep breaths and calm your mind and body so that you can navigate the stress with greater grace and awareness.
How might that ability help you in your daily life? Learning to calm the mind is an important skill. It requires practice. We can begin to cultivate this skill through daily practice.
A simple way to do so is to set a timer on your phone for 1 minute. Your aim for that one minute is to simply sit and breathe deeply. You may find your mind judging you (why are you sitting around when you have so much to do?) and that’s ok.
Notice the thought and then, re-focus on your breath. Feel the breath coming in and out of your body. Rest the mind for a minute. Be still and push the “brake pedal” on your body to restore yourself.
For the next seven days, commit to sitting in silence for 1 minute a day. That’s it! That’s not much to ask for, is it? We each can find 1 minute in the day! What time of day will you commit to doing your 1 minute of silence? Think of your daily routine. Where can this 1 minute naturally fit? Set a reminder on your phone and schedule this 1 minute in so you don’t forget to do it. As you practice taking deep breaths and relaxing for those 60 small seconds, you are building an ability to RESPOND to life and to those in your life rather than to REACT in the heat of the moment.
When we learn to pause, take a deep breath and gather our energy while alone, we are training ourselves for those moments when things start to go haywire. Maybe your teenage child is pushing your button and you are ready to scream. Stop. Pause. Take a deep breath.
What response do you want to give in difficult situations? Maybe your co-worker who constantly seems to annoy you by being late on their part of the project stops by your desk and you feel your frustration level rising.
Take a deep breath.
See them with new eyes and choose to respond in a way that is in line with your desire to be professional in the workplace. Having the ability to respond as life unfolds is part of self-mastery. By taking the time to practice moments of silence, you can learn to calm yourself quickly and on-demand when facing circumstances that would normally shake you.
Let’s focus this week on developing our “calm, cool, and centered” muscles. Let’s grow our resilience skills. For the week ahead you have 2 options:
Option 1: Sit in silence for 1 minute a day. Yes, that’s it. 1 full minute of being quiet inside and breathing deeply to relax your body and calm your mind.
Option 2: Sit in silence 1 minute the first day, 2 minutes the 2nd, 3 minutes the 3rd day, 4 minutes the 4th….building up to 7 minutes in silence the 7th day. Set a timer and breathe deeply. If your mind starts to chatter, refocus on your breath.
A minute of deep breathing and inner quiet can change the course of your day…do it. Fit it in. Leverage the gift of your breath to awaken to your inner power. Let me know how it goes — or if you have any questions regarding the topic! I’m practicing with you!
I've been working with business and government leaders for 20+ years as a Senior Executive Coach (PCC, ICF) and Leadership Development and Positive Psychology Consultant. I help leaders apply positive psychology to awaken to their highest potential and leave a lasting positive impact in their own unique way. Learn More
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