Stress management with mindfulness
When you read about mindfulness the first thought that comes to your mind are probably meditating Buddhist monks. But mindfulness is much more than meditation and also very useful for project managers. “Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice which has profound relevance for our present-day life. This relevance has nothing to do with Buddhism per se or with becoming a Buddhist, but it has everything to do with waking up and living in harmony with oneself and with the world”. Jon Kabat-Zinn; Wherever you go there you are.
This is how you can integrate mindfulness into your daily life in order to reduce stress and balance your life:
We all know multitasking and are really good at it (talking on the phone while we are driving, reading emails while talking on the phone and so on). Single tasking is the opposite: single tasking means focusing on just one thing. Only driving, fully paying attention to the conversation you are having, only working on a concept paper and not checking the emails in between……. Single tasking increases not only the quality of your work but also your satisfaction.
Smokers are doing this right: after a few hours of work, the listen their bodies and take a smoking break. This should not encourage you to start smoking, but to find other ways to have a rest: look out of the window for 2 minutes, stretch yourself and take a few deep breaths, have a cup of tea, go for a walk,…
I am sure you have experienced both conversations where your partner is only focusing on you and listening attentively and situations where your partner is absent minded. Nevertheless, we find it difficult to be mindful, completely present and bring our full attention to the conversation. Being present is a present you can give your colleagues, friends, family, business partners and especially yourself.
Mindfulness can be practiced in many situations, these are just a few example:
- Having breakfast in a mindful manner instead of reading the newspaper, checking emails or planning the day at the same time
- Being mindful when you walk, feeling your body, seeing your surroundings, instead of rushing
- Being mindful when meeting new people, instead of having prejudices
- Breathing with mindfulness, a few times before a difficult conversation, 5 minutes on a bench in the sun
You might remember, when you were a child and and you were daydreaming, a parent or teacher told you off by saying: “Don’t sit around – do something.” Meditation is exactly the opposite. Mediation means not just doing something but sitting quietly. After a busy day we often arrive at home restless. We tidy up, check the mails, eat some sweets, try to keep busy,… Instead of this we could sit down, feel our body, watch our breath and enjoy that we do not have to do something, do not need to think about something, just sit.
More about stress management for project managers: http://topconf.com/bucharest-2015/trackevent/stress-management-for-project-managers/