By Pamela Power Scanlon
Women today are boldly and courageously embracing their feminine gifts and infusing them into their work to create positive change in the world.
Images portrayed in the media depict working women as glamorous, happy, and even carefree. Taking a more purpose-driven approach to work does lead to greater happiness and fulfillment, but as we juggle more than ever before, the reality is far from glamorous or carefree.
How can we support ourselves so we can effectively be the change-makers the world needs, the matriarchs our families need, and also meet our own needs so we can enjoy our journeys and soak in the beauty of our efforts?
Time and energy are two of our most precious commodities. Practicing mindfulness can help protect and maximize both.
What is “mindfulness,” and how can it support us?
Sharon Salzberg offers a definition of mindfulness that illustrates the magic it can bring: Mindfulness isn’t just about knowing that you’re hearing something, seeing something, or even observing that you’re having a particular feeling. It’s about doing so in a certain way—with balance and equanimity, and without judgment. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in a way that creates space for insight.”
The insights gained from that space of noticing can act as a compass to guide us in making decisions that keep us aligned with our greater purpose. They empower us to navigate more gracefully through overwhelm by helping us to identify and push aside distractions, thereby decreasing our stress and allowing inspiration to flow with greater ease. And in that sweet spot, we can experience greater meaning and joy in our work.
The beauty of mindfulness is that it is a way of being that we can apply freely in all the areas of our life, rather than a practice that demands our complete attention for a limited duration. It teaches us the art of listening to the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our bodies and using this information to make choices that sustain, rather than drain us.
Without judgment, simply notice throughout the day what makes you feel expanded and inspired and conversely, what makes you feel constricted and stressed. Take mental notes or write your observations in your planner, phone, or journal. At the end of each day, reflect on what you learned and think proactively about ways you can create more opportunities for expansion and reduce that which makes you feel constricted.
3 Mindful Practices
One of the most valuable practices you can do at home and at work to set the tone for a positive, productive day is to create a mindful morning routine. At the start of your day, take a few quiet moments to:
- Quietly connect to your inner guidance system to open up the flow of creativity, wisdom, and divine guidance.
- Visualize how you want your day to look and feel. Some questions you may ask yourself include:
- How do I want to feel today?
- What can I do to generate this feeling?
- What contribution will I make today?
- Using your answers to guide you, set your intention.
- Use your intention to guide your choices.
Tip: Bring this practice into your workplace! Introduce this process to your co-workers to do independently, or even better, as a group to promote a sense of community and excitement.
Throughout the day, check in with yourself to see what patterns, relationships, habits, food, etc., you need to release because they are negatively impacting your physical and emotional energy.
Tip: You’ll experience success removing that which doesn’t serve you by you reshaping or replacing it with a more positive option. Here are some examples:
- Rather than pushing through your day, set reminders on your phone to stop and do a 1-minute release and recharge meditation at the end of every hour. Then do 1-minute of movement (jumping jacks, air squats, marching in place, etc.) to stimulate blood flow for improved brain power and reduced stress
- To slow time down, take a mindful walk outside at lunchtime to ground yourself in the present. Practice gratitude for the beauty around you and the blessings in your day.
- Rather than a mid-afternoon caffeine fix that can impact the quality of your much-needed sleep later, boost your energy by turning on a song that inspires you and do some mindful movement. Choose the song based on whatever appeals to you on a given day. Take the opportunity to relax your mind by shifting your awareness to your body. Dance, smile, hop, stretch, etc. Do whatever feels good to you!
There are several mindful qualities that are considered the foundation of mindfulness. Intentionally incorporating these qualities into the way you listen, speak, and respond to the people in your personal and work life can help enhance the quality of your relationships.
Tip: Choose one quality to focus on each week and apply in both your interaction with others and with yourself.
Some of these qualities include: