Rita Perea is President and CEO of Rita Perea Leadership Consulting Associates, specializing in working with senior leaders to successfully engage employees, lead teams, manage change and balance work and life.
Let’s face it. Executives, business owners, managers and directors are busy, busy people. Some days life can be a blur of meetings, commitments and fires to put out. With email, voice mail and snail mail all vying for our attention, things can pile up quickly until we feel like our personal and work lives are out of control.
What can we do to get our lives under control again? To feel productive again? To feel less stressed and harried? Try taking a time out, also called meditation, during your day - every day.
More people than ever are doing some form of this stress-busting meditation, and researchers are discovering it has some quite extraordinary effects on the brains of those who do it regularly.
Time outs can last as little as five minutes or as long as an hour. The focus of a time out is to quiet your breathing, relax and rejuvenate your overworked mind and body.
I have been meditating regularly for over ten years with great results. I like to begin my day gently with an hour of meditation. The result that I’ve had with regular time to quiet my mind is that my days flow smoother, I am more creative and productive. I have found that if I do not make the time to meditate each day I feel frazzled, scattered and unorganized. I feel forgetful and distracted. Life presents speed bumps, not the open super highway.
Neuroscience has now proven that just a few hours of quiet reflection each week can lead to an intriguing range of mental and physical effects. Consider that meditation is now accepted as a useful therapy for anxiety and depression.
It’s being explored by schools, pro sports teams and military units to enhance performance, and is showing promise as a way of helping sufferers of chronic pain, too.
So, now that we know why we should consider taking time for ourselves, and what the benefits could be, let’s talk about how to weave this into our already busy days to make this happen.
There are many different types of meditation postures a busy person can use. Depending on how you posture your body during your time out, you’ll be able to access different qualities of your inner guidance system- your subconscious mind. recommend three different meditations and body postures that you can do in the office or at home.
Sitting: The purpose of a sitting meditation is to call upon one’s inner wisdom. This posture is best used when you are grappling with a tough problem that you need guidance for. During this time out, sit comfortably either on the floor with your legs crossed, or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. If your office is not very private, you could even sit in your car. Allow you arms to rest with your hands palms up on your thighs. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Notice your breath coming in and going out at that spot near the tip of your nose. Ask for inner guidance and wisdom to solve the problem or to find a creative solution. If you have a thought, simply notice it and return to focusing on your breathing. Stay in this position for five minutes. Over time work your way up to 15 minutes.
Standing: If you’re getting ready for a tough meeting and need to access your inner authority, then a standing meditation could be very helpful. This posture can assist you in dealing with things from a place of self-respect and self-confidence, setting limits without guilt. During this time out, simply stand with your arms and legs uncrossed, your feet flat on the floor and your eyes wide open. Focus on your breathing. Notice your breath coming in and going out. Ask for your inner strength and personal power to show itself in your tasks today. If you have a thought, simply notice it. Continue to focus on your breath. Stay in this position for five minutes. Work your way up to 15 minutes.
Moving: Sometimes we need some help getting our "creative juices" flowing. A moving meditation can do just that. During a moving time out you could be walking, jogging, biking, dancing, or taking part in any other activity that you choose to help you listen to your inner voice. My personal favorite is gardening. During this time out, keep your body open and uncrossed. Focus on your breathing. Notice your breath coming in and going out. Ask for the ability to be more creative. Continue to focus on your breath. You’ll notice some intuitive insights and creative solutions that begin to appear spontaneously. Stay in this moving meditation for five minutes. Work your way up to 15 minutes.
So, what are you waiting for? Make the choice to begin to get up five minutes earlier tomorrow morning and just breathe. A happier, healthier, more productive life is waiting for you. All you have to do is take a time out.