Make Friends With Difficult Emotions
And Better Guide Your Team's Performance
3 DIFFERENT TOOLS
At this point of the training you already have three different tools to settle your mind. You have learned body scan, mindful breathing and mindful sound. This week you can decide which exercise to practise twice a day, possibly in the morning as soon as you wake up and in the evening before going to sleep. You can do it on your own or with a guided exercise, as you have done so far. I would encourage you to lengthen the time of each session, maybe by just a couple of minutes if you feel comfortable with that. Pick one!
BREATHING REMINDER and GRATITUDE PRACTICE
When you use your phone's alarm to bring your awareness back to your breathing, also think of the first thing that comes into your mind for which you are grateful. It could be the feeling of stroking the cat, drinking fresh water, a chat with a friend. There are many little things that we can learn to notice and appreciate.
This exercise will take no more than 30 seconds and you can do it as you have in the previous weeks.
Set your phone with 4 random alarms over the day. Each time you hear the alarm, bring your attention to the movement of your body breathing, just for one in-breath and one out-breath, and at the same time think about something for which you are grateful. Maybe you can find something looking around you and if nothing comes to your mind it’s ok, just notice that, without any judgement.
TAKING A MINDFUL MOMENT
This week, you are encouraged to do this exercise at least once. Your Mindful Moment will be listening to someone mindfully. In this exercise, the anchor of your attention will be the words that you are listening to.
How to put Mindful Listening into practice:
1. When the other person is speaking, just keep quiet and listen to what they are actually saying with open curiosity about what you are hearing.
2. If your mind starts wandering just bring it back to your breathing and the words that you are listening to.
3. Make contact with your feelings during the conversation, just be aware of them.
4. The duration of the exercise can range from 10 seconds to 5 minutes.
Very important: I suggest that you schedule this exercise the day before you do it.
TWO EMOTION MANAGEMENT TOOLS YOU PROBABLY DON’T KNOW ABOUT
One of the purposes of practising mindfulness is learning the ability to be aware of the thoughts and feelings we may have without reacting to them. Perhaps you have already noticed that this is difficult to achieve. However, there are two exercises that can help us to train ourselves to prevent emotional hijacking.
The first exercise is called S.T.O.P. which is an acronym for
Take a deep breath;
Open and Observe;
Proceed without expectations.
When the stress level is high, this practice gives you a different way to pause and connect with the present moment.
What you will do is create a space to reconnect with your ability for resilience and inner wisdom. You will simply tune into what is happening right now, without expecting any particular result.
R.A.I.N. is the second exercise, it was created by Tara Brach “to help people address feelings of insecurity and unworthiness” as she says. This exercise is similar to the S.T.O.P. exercise, in that it starts with a pause to focus our awareness on what is happening but differs from S.T.O.P. in that it goes beyond that awareness and adds a gentle investigation into what is happening inside.
RAIN is acronym for:
Recognise what is happening
Allow the experience to be there
Investigate with interest and care
Nurture with self-compassion.
While the STOP exercise you can do it during the day to take some distance from a stressful event, RAIN goes deeper and it is recommended to do it at the end of the day.
HOW MINDFULNESS CAN AFFECT LEADERSHIP ABILITIES
Based on research conducted on leaders working in six organisations, mindfulness can improve leadership skills, such as relating to others and adapting to change. At the end of the research, participants found greater ability to maintain attention in meetings and conversations, they were less judgemental, more focused on solutions and more open to accepting change.
Practising mindfulness can help you become more aware of your own and others' feelings and consequently more empathetic.
With mindfulness training, leaders can be better equipped to guide their team by showing empathy and defusing tense situations. Moreover, mindfulness training increases supportive leadership style, i.e. a greater focus on creating a human oriented relationship.
There is a potential for mindfulness in the workplace that goes beyond reducing stress and improving resilience.
Week 5 - How to improve decision-making processes