We’ve all been there: deadlines looming, competing priorities from internal stakeholders or clients, and neverending needs from our team, all the while in the midst of our own mind screaming, “Something’s got to give!” When the firehose is always on, a workplace reality for so many communications leaders, shifting into the confident, calm, and collected mind space where we do our best work can feel impossible to find.
“Around one out of three employees and executives are constantly struggling with fatigue and poor mental health,” Deloitte’s Workplace and Wellness survey reveals. So, how do we quiet our minds and move out of the chaos and into a state of flow?
Inhabiting tension is something we learn and practice. Feelings of stress, agitation, despair, and anxiety can become so ingrained that it’s easy to forget how simple it is to let these feelings go. When we do, the nervous system will begin to settle. When the nerves settle, the body settles.
Recognize and release stress with this five-step process:
- Awareness: Begin with an open mind, willing to embrace any tension. Close your eyes and scan your entire body and pay attention to any tightness, where is it being held?
- Exploration: Give into feeling tension. Acknowledge where it is in the body and examine any connections between muscular or emotional tightness. Sit with the feeling for a few breaths in and out – even if it is uncomfortable.
- Recognition: Avoid placing any labels on these sensations. Remember it is only energy. Allow yourself to recognize it, for just that.
- Release: Begin the process of moving this energy through and out of where it is being held too tightly. Anywhere these feelings are not serving you, breathe deeply and actively let the tension go.
- Energize: Use the flow of breath to release and re-energize. Imagine that with each breath of releasing tension, space is created to circulate a feeling of openness and freedom – shifting the energy from tightness to lightness.
This process can be done in a one-minute moment before a meeting or a 10-minute mental break where you physically step away from your devices. Creating space in your day for this mini-practice will help your body begin to reprogram so that in the moments of overwhelm, you can more quickly adjust and find quiet.
If you’re looking for more ideas, check out this practice on my blog.
Want to learn more about well-being at work? Join Karianne Michelle, who will be leading meditation to start the day and participating in key panels at Ragan’s Employee Experience & Wellness Conference, Aug. 14-16, 2023 in Denver. Learn more and register now!