In preparing for a presentation I was delivering on Emotional Intelligence (EI) I discovered many references to mindfulness and practicing mindfulness in developing Emotional Intelligence. This confirmed what I have been encouraging in my coaching work over the past several years and what I began incorporating into my own life. Emotional Intelligence means you are Self Aware: knowing what your are thinking, feeling, believing and assuming in all your interactions and then managing your emotions especially when triggered. In addition, Emotional Intelligence means you are aware of others feelings, noticing when they might have been triggered. Both skill sets of Emotional Intelligence require being in the present moment in order to be self-aware and successfully manage your relationships.
Mindfulness is being aware and awake in the present moment, non-judgmentally and completely–rather than dwelling in the past or projecting into the future. It is experiencing all of your senses, noticing your breathing, feeling sensations of your body versus living in your mind disconnected from your body and heart or dwelling on what was, living in the past, or what will be, living in the future. Mindfulness provides us access to our intuition, which can accelerate creativity and innovation.
While mindfulness has origins in Eastern philosophy and Buddhism, there is no necessary religious component to mindfulness — anyone, with any belief system, can enjoy the benefits of mindfulness
I thought I would share 3 mindfulness practices that I have been using that are simple and reap wonderful rewards in good health, improved relationships and clearer focus in work and when playing sports.
Daily morning meditations– I focus on deep, diaphragmatic breathing, in through my nose through my heart into my solar plexus and then exhale out through my nose. I also use my EmWave a HeartMath tool that allows me to track the amount of time that I am in coherence during my meditation.
Instrumental music– Instead of listening to the radio when I am driving to and from my destinations I will put on a CD with instrumental music (no words), that allows me to relax and focus on my breathing. This frees up my mind from mental chatter and distraction, gets me back to the present moment. In those moments I often times gain access to my intuition resulting in new insights and awareness to what decisions or actions I need to take next.
Deep breathing– Historically I have been a short and shallow breather, meaning I only breathed to the upper part of my chest versus deep into my solar plexus. Throughout the day, especially if I am rushed, harried, stressed, anxious or just triggered by a person or event I will shift my focus on my breathing for the next 1-3 minutes. It gets me out of my head back into my body and into the present moment. I then have better access to my neo cortex to make better decisions and choices that serve my greater good resulting in fewer worry lines across my forehead.
I encourage you to commit to practicing more mindfulness in your life and see what benefits unfold. Pick one or two techniques that you believe you will commit to practicing and then put it into motion. Remember as you practice the new techniques you are developing a new habit of mindfulness resulting in new neuropathways that get strengthened each time you use it. So be patient with yourself as it may take some time to master the technique.