Change is a funny thing, and I don’t mean funny ha-ha. If you’ve spent any significant amount of time being alive (which you most definitely have if you’re reading this), then you’ve probably already learned that change – whether you perceive it as good or bad – is inevitable. It is a constant in life, and when we don’t change enough, we end up stagnating and our growth as an individual slows to a crawl. One of the most challenging things as a mindful leader is to foster positive change within your organization while helping all of the different personality types around you to move through their acceptance processes in a healthy and constructive way. The first time will be the most difficult… but you’ve got this! Read on to learn five actionable tips for fostering positive change as a mindful leader.
When we speak about change and being resistant to it, we’re not talking about a useful resistance; that fear and anxiety surrounding change is associated with risk, making our reptile brains completely freak out and go into fight or flight mode. That fight or flight response may have been useful in the past, but nowadays it overreacts to almost everything due to changing times. We no longer have to worry about being hunted and eaten by an animal bigger than us or surviving a night in a cave; we humans are excellent at making ourselves feel more comfortable, at ease, and taken care of ;).
These days, we’re dealing with more people who are afraid of change, success, and happiness than ever before. This may not be a conscious response, but if you take it into consideration, you may find that a fear of success is really a fear of the responsibility that comes with it. A fear of change is most likely really a fear of things going wrong. A fear of happiness might really be a fear of getting too comfortable and letting people into your heart. No matter what the case, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the reptile brain does more harm than good, so let’s try to take that old method of reacting out of our minds and replace it with more efficient, courageous, and lasting strategies.
Five Tips for Fostering Positive Change as a Mindful Leader
Knowing now what we know about the human brain, we can begin to make changes to our internal functions through intentional inner work. The human mind is like a super computer, but always expanding, learning, changing, shifting, and making things more efficient… if we train it properly.
I know, I know… you probably feel like this is my top suggestion for everything, but that’s simply because of how effective this practice is! Even if you have no clue what you’re doing or how to meditate, begin. Take five or ten minutes a day (you will likely want to increase this slowly as time goes on, but it isn’t necessary) to sit and listen to some soothing music or a guided meditation. You can find many of these on YouTube absolutely free (although I would recommend choosing a video without ads throughout for meditation). Pretty soon you’ll be able to find meditation tracks on our website as well, so stay tuned =).
This seems like a no-brainer, but believe it or not, regular exercise such as yoga and vigorous exercise such as lifting weights or running can actually help your body release negative toxins and work through negative emotions and stress. It doesn’t take much; ten minutes of yoga a day and a trip to the gym or a walk twice a week is plenty, especially if you’ve spent a while living a sedentary lifestyle (like sitting at a desk all day for work). Incorporating some simple exercise into your daily routine will help keep you balanced and centered.
#3: You are what you eat.
What we put into our bodies directly affects how much we can expect from our bodies on a daily basis. If you eat a lot of heavy, low-vibration, dead foods, you will likely feel heavy, sluggish, and not as great as you could. However, if we put high-vibration, alive, light foods into our bodies such as salads, kombucha with live probiotic cultures, and fruit, we will feel light, alive, and energetic. Of course this doesn’t mean you have to radically switch your diet in a day; lifestyle changes take a little time. However, beginning to expand your palate and try new, healthy foods can be done immediately. Start trying things that are healthy for you like quinoa, power greens, and green smoothies (best if homemade). Adding these types of foods as snacks or replacing something heavier with something lighter will feel strange at first; however, the more you eat those healthy foods, the better your body will begin to feel, and the more you will crave those foods.
#4: Sleep is good!
Another aspect of people’s lives that can wreak havoc without being obvious is a lack of sleep or a sporadic sleep schedule. Sometimes we feel like we might have insomnia, but really it’s because we watched TV or drank caffeine, prompting our bodies to resist sleep because we inadvertently tampered with our circadian cycles. If your sleep schedule isn’t consistent, you can expect to feel sluggish and low energy quite a lot, not to mention the emotional repercussions; some are more sensitive to this than others, but oftentimes a sleep schedule inconsistency isn’t even considered to be a cause because we like to be the boss and do what we want instead of getting some rest ;). Forming some solid sleep habits could make a massive difference in your life, so if you suspect that this might be holding you back, try something new.
#5: Leading by example.
Now that you, the mindful leader, know what to do to help yourself, you can lead people by example. If leading by example isn’t enough, you might consider having everyone at the office stop everything for five minutes for a group meditation. Get creative and think of when this might help the most – first thing in the morning? Right after lunch? Or perhaps you’ll get creative and announce a meditation break anytime the energy in your workplace gets too frantic, panicky, or stressful.
The top priority during a time of change is to keep everyone on track, focused, and working with minimal fear surrounding the change or changes occurring. Like a parent, your job is to guide your team through their struggles while allowing them to learn and solve their own problems. Meditation breaks could be the beginning of an incredibly tuned-in workplace, so this shouldn’t be something you only implement during times of change. Start meditating every day! You might be surprised just how much its benefits can turn things around, on an individual as well as a group level.
I certainly help that these ideas help you and your team to implement changes in a healthy and growth-oriented way! As always, continue leading mindfully and we look forward to seeing you here again.
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Need some help with your mindfulness practice? The Mindful Moments can certainly help!