Whether you’re brainstorming ideas at your desk, on your way to a high-stakes meeting, or digesting some bad news, these 7 simple ways to be mindful for stressed freelancers and founders can help you quiet the monkey mind, restore calm and balance so you show-up fully in your business and life.
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7 Simple ways to be mindful for stressed freelancers and founders
Listen to your surroundings
What can you hear right now? The gentle whirr of your computer? Birds singing? The distant hum of traffic? Clackity clack on keyboards? Take a moment to listen to your surroundings, how many different sounds can you hear? This simple exercise takes you out of your head, bringing you in to the present moment.
Keep a plant nearby
Renowned spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle, in his book Stillness Speaks says,
Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.
Tolle says nature is very helpful to bring about a state of presence, unlike man-made things, which are made by thought, generate more thinking. Observe the plant, without labelling it, appreciating its stillness.
According to a University of Pennsylvania study, our mind reacts to bad things more quickly, persistently and forcefully than it does for good things. This is called negativity bias.
Gratitude is the medicine. Ask yourself “what am I grateful for”, then using a pen and paper list five things you’re grateful for and why. Doing so forces your mind to look for the positive. Focusing on gratitude can instantly lift you out of a negative spiral, bringing you to a more empowered present state that allows for better decision-making.
Take a breath
Listen to yourself take a slow, long, inhale of breath. Then slowly exhale, all the while listening to your breath. Repeat this for five breaths, all the while listening to your breathing.
Feel the water as you wash
Be aware of the water as you run your hands under the tap. Feel the water on your hands as you wash them with soap, and rinse them off. This simple exercise takes you out of your head — which usually happens while hand-washing, you’re thinking of a million things — bringing you into the present moment.
Feel your feet
While walking to your meeting, be aware of your feet. While waiting in reception, be aware of your feet; wriggle your toes. Focussing attention on your nervous system brings you out of your thoughts and into the present moment.
Plenty of studies reveal our smart-phones are like a slot machine in our pocket, causing addictive behaviour. Also, Microsoft study shows, since smartphones were invented, our attention span has shrunk from 12 seconds (pre-smart-phone) to eight seconds. Being ‘online’ all the time takes you out of the present moment, creating a under-current of dissatisfaction. Delete all your social media apps from your phone and disable the wifi for extended periods throughout the day. Doing so allows you to be more present and you will slowly retrain your brain to avoid checking your phone for longer periods of time.