Practicing mindfulness can help people become more proactive and less reactive, which is particularly helpful as a leader, Better Works reports.
Mindfulness has proven to be a successful way for business leaders to improve how they respond. Instead of responding immediately to something, people who practice mindfulness are prone to take one second before reacting.
One second sounds like it isn’t nearly enough to make a difference, but it actually provides just enough time to make all the difference necessary.
That one second enables you to push past the knee-jerk, instinctive, reactionary first thought you had on how to move forward and instead to have a thoughtful response, resulting in a strong solution.
According to research, practicing mindfulness can help retrain our brain on how we interact. By continually engaging in the practice of mindfulness, we can alter our brains to use our prefrontal cortex, which is more rational, more, instead of immediately responding to the reactionary portion of the brain, the limbic system.
Essentially, mindfulness helps us improve our executive functioning, logical thought, and impulse control. By doing this, we have more control over our minds, how we think, our decisions, and, ultimately, our lives.
This is crucial for leaders, because it allows them to make better decisions when managing people and situations. By not responding immediately to a stimulant, leaders who practice mindfulness are more likely to create successful solutions.
Below are five tips to help you be more mindful.
- Practice mindfulness for 10 minutes a day
Set aside 10 minutes a day whenever is most convenient for you. Use a mindfulness training program or download an app to help guide you through this practice. Try for a month and see how it improves the way you react and your life.
- Avoid reading email when you wake up
We are at our most creative, focused, and determined in the morning. Instead of answering emails right when you wake up, focus on strategic work and important conversations. Your email will distract you and your mind will begin to become more reactive. Try to avoid answering your email for 30 minutes or more upon arriving at work.
- Turn off notifications
Notifications are stimulants that can easily make you more reactionary. They are often stressors, so the more you have, the more stressful stimulants you are exposed to during the day. Thus, you’re more likely to be reactionary instead of mindful. Try to limit how often you check your email (maybe once an hour), depending on your job.
- Stop multitasking
Start a task, complete it, repeat. By staying focused on a single task, you can best remain your focus. Multitasking keeps your mind overloaded, which makes you more reactive. As you jump from one task to the next, you end up losing focus and struggling to complete anything successfully.
- Put it on your calendar
If you’re going to practice mindfulness, be intentional about it. Set a bi-weekly reminder to do a little self-assessment on how your new practice is going.