The last thing we may feel we have time to add to our To-Do List is practicing mindfulness or sitting and meditating. None of us need additional pressure to be doing more. We each have our own internal checklist that keeps us feeling overwhelmed because we should eat healthier, sleep better, drink more water, get more exercise, spend more time with family, live from our hearts, fulfill our life purpose, answer emails, call people back, be prepared, get that promotion, speak up more, listen more effectively, have more fun and … meditate. Like that’s going to happen!
Exploring and practicing mindfulness has been a personal passion of mine for years. And I want to let you in on an important truth. I rarely sit and meditate. Yet I cultivate the practice of mindfulness on a daily basis in a wide range of ways (no meditation cushion required). From spending so much time around really great women, it seems quite clear that we collectively could use a breakthrough in the realm of living mindfully. For this reason we are partnered with meditation and mindfulness expert Angela Waltman MS, FNP, AHN-C for our 15 Days To WOW program. During this program, we will be learned and practiced together to gain the benefits of mindfulness and meditation without feeling burdened, overwhelmed, or guilty in the process. We integratde these important techniques into our daily routines instead of adding something additional to our perpetually growing lists.
On her website, Angela defines mindfulness as, “… awareness that is not thinking, but which is aware of thinking as well as aware of each of the other ways we experience the sensory world, including seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling through the body.”
From a women’s leadership perspective, mindfulness is essential. Being present and connected to ourselves and the present moment is our access point to our inner wisdom, which we refer to as true leadership. Being connected to our inner wisdom means that the choices we make are more authentic, thoughtful, powerful, creative and sustainable.
How do we gain the critical benefits of mindfulness without adding to our To Do List?
Each of these techniques will provide the stress reduction benefits of mindfulness in less than 15 minutes a day. Many of them can be practiced during a normal daily activity.
- Breathe. Whenever you feel rushed, hurried, or someplace other than the present moment, you can connect to your breathing. Taking 3 conscious breaths deep into your belly can help you regain mindfulness and presence.
- Eat or drink mindfully. Hopefully we eat and drink every day. We can use this time when we are fueling ourselves to also nourish ourselves with mindfulness. Be present to the process of eating instead of multi-tasking or rushing.
- Do one of your daily routines mindfully. Most of us do have daily rituals, whether it’s morning coffee, afternoon tea, or brushing your teeth before bed. Choose one of these practices and commit to doing it mindfully.
- Listen to a guided meditation or visualization. There are many meditations and visualizations available online and via YouTube. One of my favorites is Tara Brach, who has 10-minute meditations available for free on her website.
- Be quiet. Sitting still and being aware of, yet non-judgmental, of your thoughts and feelings as they move through your space is golden. Even doing this for 10 minutes a day will bring great results in your connection to your own inner wisdom and peace of mind.