Hacking Mindfulness for Leaders: 7 Days, 7 Golden Steps To Awakened Living
These simple seven steps will lead you to emotional independence, increased mental stamina, and most importantly, greater self-awareness. By spending just five minutes every day practicing these steps, you will be on your way to a happier, more liberated and enjoyable life.
Day 1 / Step #1: Gratitude
This exercise is simple and doable. Begin by spending five minutes in total silence. Silence your electronics, tune out all possible distractions, resist singing, humming, or talking, and control the chatter taking place in your mind. Instead of mulling over your problems and life challenges, reflect instead on all the amazing people who share your world, and on the opportunities and blessings that enrich your life.
Now direct your focus within. Marvel that you are alive and breathing. Yes, breathing, in and out, in and out, and in and out. Everything begins with the breath. Follow your breath, so seamless, so miraculous, so involuntary. Can you tell where one breath ends and the next begins? Breathe deeply into your belly and feel it expand. Perceive every cell in your body being infused and refreshed with oxygen. And as you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles and expel your breath. Where does it go? Out into the world, carrying with it dead cells and toxins from your lungs, leaving your body more pure, whole and vibrant.
As you breathe, reflect on the adventure yet to unfold before you in the minutes, hours and day ahead. Today is a chance to begin again. Begin with a slight shift in your mindset. A shift toward gratitude and appreciation for the joy of waking up.
Acknowledge how wonderful it is to be alive in your body, with your arms and legs, your voice, your nose, eyes, ears, and the consciousness to perceive it all. How exquisite it is to see, smell, taste, hear, touch and feel the world around you. How exceptional it is to have a brain to direct your activities, record your every moment, and inspire you with new ideas.
Thank the universe for giving you everything you need to tackle this day. DO IT.
Make these five minutes of gratitude a priority. You can do this simple step anywhere: in the shower, over a cup of coffee, waiting for your lunch order, or while walking the dog, But the most important thing is to DO IT. Five minutes. Easy.
Day 2 / Step #2: PLAY
Let’s play! Find a moment in your day, ESPECIALLY when you feel like you are about to keel over because everything demands your time and attention and your brain seems ready to explode. Pause! Freeze Frame! Take a “Mindful Me” Moment and allow yourself to just be silly and play!
You can participate in some grand act of senseless silliness. You can also restrict yourself to a small, contained activity. Doodle on a napkin. Skip down a hall. Practice juggling. Rotate a hula hoop. Toss some paper basketballs into the recycling. Dance in or out of your chair. Play some balloon volleyball. Twist on a Rubik’s cube. Rake the sand in your mini zen garden. Spin a top. Play a little Jenga or some pickup stix. Scratch on a Etch-a-Sketch. Fold some origami or untangle a tangle puzzle. Fidget with a spinner or assemble some Legos. Or bend, stretch and touch your toes.
When I take a time-out to play, sometimes my boys and I jump on the bed and dance to our favorite tunes. Sometimes we even video our goofy fun and then watch it together later as we sit on the couch! Active, physical play can be helpful as it causes you to move your body, stimulates the flow of blood and lymph, eliminates stagnation, promotes deeper breathing, and helps clear your mind as your body moves through time and space. Play makes the heart and spirit light, and allows the brain to go back to its important work after a brief recess.
Now GO DO IT. Five minutes. That’s all it takes.
NO EXCUSES. Remember excuses are like quicksand to creativity and a mud pit to meaningful manifesting. Play and be productive. Five minutes.
Day 3 / Step #3: SELF CARE
Love, love, love. Start with self-love. Ask yourself today, what do I want that will make ME happy? I am talking about being truly happy. Not superficially enchanted, placated, or entertained. What can I do for myself that will enrich me, promote my personal growth and wellbeing, cultivate my confidence and self-esteem, align me more closely with my true purpose, and make me smile inside? What do I need for myself at this moment, in this time and space, that will sustain, nurture and elevate my body, mind and spirit?
This is not about being selfish. This is about loving yourself enough to recognize what you need, setting healthy boundaries and strategies for cultivating interior growth, and engaging those activities that nourish and enhance your whole being.
I enjoy loads of self-love!! It took me a little while to recognize it, to understand the importance of practicing it, and perhaps most importantly to actually set aside the time to engage it. I find it beneficial to set good personal boundaries and high standards so that people will honor your personal time and space and not intrude. Often people are attracted to high achievers and others who lead purposeful, motivated lives. They can find ways to attach themselves to you psychologically, emotionally, or even financially, and leave you feeling tapped out and dried up. But don’t be a target. Remember that this is your life journey, you alone are in charge, and you must always put your own needs, concerns, and growth first. After all, no one around you can truly benefit unless you take the opportunity to realize your highest potential.
It is important to learn the art of self-love, to not take what others think or say personally, to not be guilted into self-abnegation, and to always do your best while pursuing the adventure of your personal journey. Follow your own path in a mindful way, equipping yourself with the tools and knowledge you will need to fully express your life’s purpose.
This takes time and discernment. Taking the time is a gift you give yourself. So today — say NO to things that are not beneficial to your holistic being. Say YES to experiences that can bring you joy, growth, expansion, good health, new insights, inspiration, and validation. Say YES to yourself.