The Mindful Leader – How to Be More Mindful


Mindfulness. It’s a bit of a buzz word these days in business and leadership. Build resilience through mindfulness. But what is it exactly?

Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice of simply observing one’s thoughts, emotions and actions and bodily sensations as they are happening in the present.

Why is this useful and important?

Mindfulness based therapy and practices have been linked to being a useful tool for anxiety, depression, and other stressful situations. It’s also being explored as a way to improve performance and even showing promise in helping sufferers of chronic pain, addiction and even tinnitus.

In terms of business and leadership, being more mindful can make us better leaders by helping us be calmer, less stress, more empathetic, build our immune system (as it’s not a stressed) and therefore get ill less, become more clear-headed, and on and on. I don’t think that we’ve truly discovered the limits to it yet.

Mindfulness based practices like yoga, Tai-chi, Qu Qong and meditation are familiar terms perhaps to you. But you can be more mindful in any moment.

All you need to do, is

  1. Pause
  2. Notice what you’re doing in the moment. 

It could be that you are washing the dishes. Notice the way your hands feel as they hold the plate in one hand, and the cloth in the other. The temperature of the water. The way the soap feels on your hand.

My experience with many people is that we live in a world of distraction. From the moment we wake up, some of us have music on, or the news, radio, TV, then we have people at work, school wherever. Noise and distraction from traffic, commuting, billboard adverts and so on.

We never really get some time alone. To spend with our own thoughts. We end up (a lot of the time) living life unconsciously. Not really being aware as we walk through life.

If we just pause. Maybe take time to shut down the distractions. Then notice what we are doing. Even if we are smoking (not to be encouraged, mind you). But if you are a smoker, then really notice the smoking. Notice your lips on the butt, notice how your lungs fill with the smoke. Notice what sensations are going through your body as you take each puff. And then as you blow out. How do your lungs feel. Your lips. Your head.

You can be mindful in any moment. With any activity.

Sometimes, you don’t want to be noticing so much, for sure. And you couldn’t possibly get through the day always in this state. At least, not from what I know.

But, experiment with being more mindful at certain points of the day. Maybe it’s just putting on your backpack and shoes?

Start small. See what happens.

It’s easy to be more mindful when you don’t make it hard work.

Choose something in the moment to notice. Your breath. How your bottom feels in the chair. Your feet in the shoes. Your hands and fingertips as they type on the keyboard.

That’s my simple advice to you. You’ll notice, I expect, as you do this regularly, that you are able to notice your emotions as they arise. Perhaps you won’t be as short with people. Perhaps you’ll notice you’re about to get a cold before it actually happens and make sure you drink a little more water and rest more, so it doesn’t take hold properly. Perhaps you’ll even notice your partner’s new hairdo! (Well, that’s for the men out there, but maybe that will never happen!)

What do you think? Have you experimented with mindfulness? Let me know your experiences below. 


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