• Westwood International

Making Mindfulness a Practice

Practicing mindfulness and being present has benefits for your mind and your body, your professional life, and your home life. Adopting a mindfulness practice will lead to a more integrated brain, which in turn leads to better health, less burnout, and greater empathy. All critical characteristics for today’s growing leaders. But where do you start and how do you make sure it sticks? Read on to find out.

Step 1: Set Your Intention

The first step to making mindfulness a practice is to set your intention. Why do you want to be more mindful? What do you expect to get out of your practice and what shift would you like to see? Setting your intention will help ground you on your journey, giving you an anchor point to come back to when the day seems to be slipping away.

Step 2: Structured and Unstructured Mindfulness

The great thing about mindfulness is that it costs nothing. Nada. Zip. Of course, there are dozens of helpful apps and hundreds of helpful books. But when it comes to day-to-day practice...well that just costs a few minutes of your time.

There are two ways to be mindful. Unstructured mindfulness includes habits and tactics you can use throughout your day. This could be paying close attention and being active in a team meeting, taking a few breaths to slow down when you realize you left your lunch at home, or giving yourself some positive self-talk to start your day. (Be sure to sign up for the early release of our FREE 21-Days to Positive Self Talk program!) Finding these little moments to practice mindfulness will accelerate your mindfulness journey while boosting your energy, productivity, and awareness.

Structured mindfulness is more aligned with what most people expect when setting a practice and is just as critical as the unstructured stuff. Set aside some time in your day to stop and meditate. Take as little as three minutes or reflect for thirty minutes. As long as you’re making time for yourself, you’re headed in the right direction. When it comes to the actual meditation session, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Just like a workout regimen, meditation takes practice and you’ll get better at it as you work on it. You aren’t looking to achieve a zen-like state, rather you are taking the time to realize that thoughts come and go. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. As sounds from next door and random thoughts pop into your head, let them pass and return to the present moment.

Step 3. Plan & Practice

Now that you’re primed with the basic information, it’s time to plan and practice. Take out a sheet of paper. Research shows that writing things down has numerous benefits and leads to greater success in achieving our goals. Write down your intention from earlier. Need a prompt?

Why do you want to be mindful?

Next, write down the structured and unstructured steps you will take to practice mindfulness. It doesn’t have to be a M-F schedule, just a day in the life of you.

  1. I will wake up without snoozing my alarm and set my intention for the day.

  2. I will pause before responding to a question to be present in the conversation.

  3. I will practice mindful eating.

  4. I will meditate for 10 minutes after lunch (or before I go to bed).

  5. I will do the FREE 21 Days of Positive Self-Talk program from Westwood!

  6. I will write in my journal.

Once you’ve written down your plan, put it away and start practicing. Find those little moments to express gratitude or listen actively. Find time in your busy day to practice mindfulness with a quiet, ten-minute meditation. If you need some meditation guidance, explore the apps and websites that are out there. Our two favorites include Headspace and Calm.

Remember that being mindful takes work and no one expects you to master it in a day, even a week. So don’t beat yourself up if you miss a session or find yourself triggered and emotionally hijacked. The more you work at it and the longer you practice the greater the return over the long run.

Download our app for free and engaging mindfulness programs. They’ll help you build resilience, grow as an individual, reduce stress, identify triggers, and so much more.

Interested in bringing mindfulness into your workplace? Schedule a call to discuss how Westwood International can help your team improve productivity and connect on a higher level.

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