The constant uncertainty and ambiguity that comes with our daily lives creates the conditions for stress, burn-out, and a sense of emotional upheaval. The leaders I work with, now more than ever, are looking for coping skills and practices to work with the demands of today’s constantly changing and challenging world. Over the past two years, many of us, including leaders in the workplace, have experienced significant external stressors outside of our control, that have created uncertainty in our personal and professional lives. In addition, the internal stressors that we, and especially leaders, place on ourselves can result in even greater emotional upheaval and a steady stream of stress induced chemicals, such as adrenalin and cortisol, to flow through our bodies.
The real and perceived threats to our livelihoods and sense of well-being, can leave us wondering if we can sustain what we’re thinking, feeling, and doing. These stressful conditions call for a menu of mindfulness practices that can help us to better manage these ups and downs. The most important foundational practice is to develop a greater sense of self-awareness about what triggers us, what is happening in our bodies, how we respond, and how we might be negatively impacting ourselves, and those around us.
For leaders, mindfulness practices are more essential than ever, as employees deal with higher levels of stress as well. As we know, people at work who are also stressed, are more likely to make assumptions about everything leaders say (or do not say), actions leaders take (or do not take), and the emotions leaders exhibit. Mindfulness practices help leaders to understand themselves, observe their conscious and unconscious behaviors, explore effective ways to work with their emotions, and the emotions of others during times of heightened stress.
More important still, everyday practices of mindfulness can calm chronically activated para-sympathetic nervous system stress response loops, that seriously impacts our health and well-being. Leaders might try these three mindfulness practices for everyday life:
I founded The Red Rock Consultancy for the specific purpose of working with C-level executives, senior leaders and their leadership teams as an integral leadership development resource.