I was talking with a client the other day. She was explaining to me how stressed she had been feeling lately. Work was tough and too much. Family responsibilities were weighing on her. Overall, she was just feeling overwhelmed and depleted.

I could hear it in her voice.

I asked her if she’d be willing to try something with me, and she agreed. I asked her to close her eyes, if she was comfortable with that, and to get quiet. To take a few slow, deep breaths. And to see what her body was telling her. What it/she wanted.

She went quiet, and I waited. And waited a bit more. And a bit more.

“I need to move,” she said. “My body is telling me that I need to move more. And to go outside. And…”

She continued to list what she’d “heard” from her body, from her inner knowing, if you will, when she stopped to listen. As she listed the things that she needed, I could hear the energy creep back into her voice.

By the end, she had a list of about six different things that she knew she needed to do, or to do differently, or to stop.

“Do you need a structure, so that you do these things?” I asked her. Many of my clients do.

“No,” she answered. “I’ve got this.”

When we stop and pause and quiet our minds so that we can pay attention to our bodies, we can learn so much. We might not have all the answers we need already, but we often have a view on what are at least the next steps we need to take.

It can be quite difficult to pause ourselves enough to really be present and mindful in a moment, to really be with ourselves. But every time I do – every time I breathe a deep breath and listen to my body and pay attention to my breath – I find that it calms me and invigorates me and makes me more aware of what’s important in this moment. I find the same with my clients as well.

It’s so easy to be caught up in doing and crossing off our to-do list and getting things done, but that often keeps us blind to the simple things that will help us feel better and stronger, that will make our lives and leadership flow more easily.

I encourage you to try this the next time you feel stuck or overwhelmed or agitated. Stop. Breathe.  Breathe again. Perhaps feel your hands on your legs or your seat in the chair or your feet on the ground. Notice the moment you’re in – the sights, the sounds, the smells – and notice what’s happening inside you.

And listen to what you have to say to yourself.

How have you used mindfulness?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For more mindfulness practice, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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