Tim, a senior tech leader, recently spent a week at a meditation retreat. When I asked him how he was applying it, he said he didn’t have time. Stephanie, an HR Director, was treating her journaling as an extra chore. Despite its good intention, this advice industry buzzwords often feel like another thing we “should” do. On top of our already overloaded, super crammed life, such expectations create another counter-productive burden.
I know these are well researched, proven practice. The only problem is we use those as vitamin pills instead of customizing it to serve our unique style and need. Recently a client, who completed a six months coaching program with me, said that the best outcome was that she learned to do mindful breathing several times during her day. Funny that it took her six months to understand what she already has been doing automatically since birth. NeuroScience also supports this. Building a sustainable habit requires focus and practice. We have better luck if we build micro-habits starting with something more aligned with our existing routine and when we immediately see some results.
Here are a few examples that worked for my clients :
- Do you hold off going to the bathroom or the need to take a sip of water while trying to get something done? Stop, and take a 5 min bio-break instead.
- Do you feel a knot in your stomach, heaviness in your heart or a crammed head? Do 1-min slow breathing.
- Do you feel low energy, lethargy? Spare 20 minutes for a walk outside, a couple of stretch moves, a power nap.
If you have never done those, try it now. Notice the subtle difference in your body. It could be a lighter feeling, more energy, and more airflow in the heart. Start there—do it several times a day. See how to make it a sustainable habit for you. Practice will help in noticing your body’s discomfort and regulate it sooner to bring back your grounded, productive mode.
I asked Tim, what a 1-min meditation would look like? He came up with ideas like taking a few mindful breaths during bio breaks, focusing on chewing his food during lunch. Instead of journaling, Stephanie picked a 30-min run on her neighborhood trail. Both Tim and Stephanie found that they were not only able to continue those regularly, but they also enjoyed the process. These micro-practices made a qualitative shift in their mood and overall productivity and wellbeing. What would be yours?
Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay