Ah, Summer! Most of us will take a vacation, a long weekend at the beach or mountains or simply sit by the pool or in a park in the evenings. The long days of summer give us permission to pause…to refresh and relax. We Westerners desperately need this time to stop the busyness of our task-oriented days. While initially this pause can give rise to some uneasiness – “Shouldn’t I be doing something right now?”- Sooner or later, we feel our breathing slow, our bodies relax and our thoughts slow down. This pause is essential for our heart health, our mental clarity and our relationships. Research has shown that about 85% of physical illness is stress related and hurts productivity at work. Psychologist Erik Altmann found that a 3 second distraction can double the number of mistakes.*
Clearly, we need this pause for our health, our safety and productivity. But what to do the rest of the year? How do we keep refreshed and clear thinking all year long?
One way to bring this pause into our daily lives is to purposely set aside time to be quiet. Mindfulness Meditation is one widely researched practice that has been proven to improve attention, promote relaxation and improve listening. Leaders who practice mindfulness achieve better results, clarity and collaborative teamwork. The ability to pause and reflect each day builds the muscle of awareness so one can stop, think clearly and choose the best response when facing a difficult challenge or meeting at work.
A mindful pause also has been shown to improve empathy, so we can listen, hear and understand what a colleague or family member is really saying. In the best-selling book by Judith Glaser Conversational Intelligence, we read that when we pause and really listen with an open mind we have far more curious, productive and collaborative conversations that generate co-created solutions. The leaders and teams I have worked with find that when they slow down and pause throughout the day they are more productive and have stronger relationships as well as life balance.
So what about you? How will you use these summer months to create a practice of mindfulness or some other quiet reflection so you can bring this pause into your life and your work? How will you listen and connect with your colleagues to build stronger relationships based on pausing and really listening before you respond?
You are invited to join the leaders, companies and non-profits that are experiencing clarity and collaboration from mindful leadership and “conversational intelligence!” Call me to schedule a consultation so you experience more collaborative relationships and better results.
Create the productivity, collaboration and results your team needs. Learn how to move meetings into creative discussions that generate innovation and buy in! Achieve this with Conversational Intelligence and Mindfulness leadership coaching and training!
Enjoy the pause!
*Live Science, Jan 21, 2013 Erik Altmann, a psychologist at Michigan State University
- Beginner’s and advanced Mindfulness Groups will start in October – Watch for the dates announced in the September Power Points issue!
Also, check out my counseling website: www.ascendcounselingPA.com.