The next time you find yourself torn between two difficult business decisions, take a few minutes to quiet your mind and turn within. Mindfulness, the same moment-to-moment awareness Buddhists have followed for thousands of years, can teach women business owners to forego unproductive, negative thoughts and to focus on the present.
To help guide you on the path to enlightened decision-making, here are a few tips for practicing mindfulness:
Write down your purpose for each day, and post it somewhere visible to you. Think of your intention as your day’s philosophy, which can range in specificity from “listen to my editorial staff” or “check my e-mail twice a day” to “listen before I speak” or “unplug from distracting technology.” To set your own intention, ask yourself what matters most to you in this moment.
In times of stress, your body triggers its “fight or flight” response, which leaves you short of breath. As less oxygen reaches your brain, you lose the capacity to think critically. Count to 10, and slow your nerves by breathing in deeply though your nose and out through your mouth.
Acknowledge and Move on
You’re on deadline working on an important project, but every few minutes racing thoughts distract you from the task at hand. Rather than resist, recognize each thought and allow yourself to think it for just one moment. Then, practice letting go of the off-topic idea.
Write or Draw It
When life brings trouble, explore art and writing as powerful stress relievers. Are you losing sleep over an issue with your business? Take 10 minutes to write down what’s stressing you out. If you find solace in the visual arts, print off a coloring page and grab some colored pencils. Put on a soothing soundtrack, and color it out.
Take a Walk
Liberate yourself from the desk chair, and take a mindfulness walk on your lunch break. Leave your phone at the office. You may be surprised by the signs of nature and the cracks in the sidewalk you notice for the first time. Take in your surroundings, paying special attention to any plants you spot, birds you hear, or flowers you smell.