As a leadership trainer and coach I see leaders all of the time who are working long hours, trying to balance work with their family lives, and dealing with the constant presence of blackberries/iPhones which is creating a mindset that they must always be connected. As a result it is leaving them stressed and overworked, therefore attached to unhealthy habits such as lack of sufficient sleep, health issues, and obesity. Are you one of those leaders?
We often talk in the leadership world of self-care through physical exercise. I am a huge proponent of that as I have done half-marathons and sprint triathlons to keep healthy and fit. But over the years I have also realized other tools which are helping me and millions of others release stress at an even deeper level: Breathing and Meditation.
As a participant and now a volunteer for the Art of Living Foundation (www.artofliving.org) I have been practicing these techniques for almost 10 years and see the benefits of emotional centeredness, decreased stress levels, and being much more present each and every day. I also realize that while my physical workouts help me create endorphins the breathing and meditation techniques help me to reduce the stress at the root level (within the nervous system). The breathing also helps me regulate my emotions.
Do you ever notice your breath when you are angry or sad? It is much more shallow and not as regulated. Did you know that you also can use the breath to help to change your emotion to a positive place? Meditation too can help in keeping your mind from constantly wandering from ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. By practicing breathing and meditation daily I am seeing a huge change in my emotional regulation as well as my overall happiness levels. It is also helping leaders who I coach and train.
If you are interested in learning more and are based in the DC area there is a two day special program being held by the Art of Living Foundation on June 24 and 25. it is a great opportunity to learn a breathing technique and experience meditation. Get more information at: www.gethappymetrodc.org
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.