It’s Monday morning. Someone on your team enters your office. There’s a major problem with your new product release or your store opening or an interdepartmental conflict.
It doesn’t matter what it is; it only matters how you respond.
How well you respond all depends on your mental and emotional state in that moment.
Your job isn’t easy. Managing yourself is challenging enough, but you’re also tasked with managing others. It’s a great responsibility.
Below are three simple, fast, and easy things you can do right now to help you perform at your best during this week’s challenges.
These powerful, research-backed practices will help ensure this week is an extraordinary one.
#1 – Take a Slow, Steady, Deep Breath
Conscious breathing is a vital practice for every executive. There’s a substantial amount of evidence that demonstrates how breathing affects the body, mind, and emotions in profound ways.
In an age where most of us are in a constant state of stress and over-stimulation, conscious breathing provides a healthy means of reducing anxiety, restlessness, and stress. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, deep breathing promotes inner calm, relaxation, and mental clarity.
The short-term benefits are obvious: you become better equipped at handling difficult situations, managing conflicts, and maintaining focus at work. Because deep breathing improves your body’s response to stress, its long-term benefits include improved overall health and longevity. Dr. Andrew Weil calls breathing the “master key to self healing.”
To maximize the effectiveness of your breathing, make it slow and steady. Avoid straining. Breathe quickly without sucking air in or forcing it out.
Breathe in through your nose. You can breathe out through your nose as well, or out through your mouth.
Babies breathe from their bellies, not their chest. Breathe like a baby. Chest breathing produces anxiety and emotional imbalance; belly breathing massages our organs and promotes relaxation.
Try it right now: Bring your awareness and attention to your breathing. Take a slow, steady, quiet, deep breath in through your nose. Feel your belly expand on the inhale and allow the air to naturally escape your nose or mouth on the exhale.
Try it three times. Notice how you feel.
#2 – Give the Gift of a Smile
When was the last time you randomly stopped what you were doing, took a deep breath, and smiled for no reason at all? When would now be a good time? Come on, no one’s watching.
Try it right now: Put a big, silly grin on your face.
Notice how you feel. If you are smiling right now, you’re feeling a great sensation moving through your body, and you’re saying to yourself, “Hmmm, I should do this more often.” Well, go right ahead, smile for no reason at all.
Executives often hold a belief that to be professional in the office you need to look serious. Consider that research shows that play is fundamental to positive mental health and creativity. Creativity is the foundation of innovation. Innovation is vital for the growth of your business.
Smiling is contagious. If you smile more around the office, your employees will likely smile more often too. Smiling helps people relax their defenses; it promote a clearer mind; it improves moods; it makes people feel more content; it brings people back to the present.
Research also shows that the moods of employees at the start of the day affect how they feel the rest of the day. So smile in the morning—especially on Monday!
Can you imagine what would happen if your entire organization smiled more often? It can happen. And it starts with you. So smile! 🙂
#3 – Start the Day with Gratitude
Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, reminds us: “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”
It’s all too easy to miss out on the small wonders that are present in every moment.
Regardless of how great or troublesome your life and your business may appear right now, it is a miracle that you are alive—you are breathing; you have the ability to read and comprehend; you are above ground. At any moment, there are an infinite number of things you can be thankful for.
Life truly is a gift that most of us do not appreciate—we look for more without ever acknowledging how fortunate we are right now.
Each morning this week, as soon as you arrive at the office, smile and give thanks for the awesome power of today by saying these ﬁve magic words: “Thank you for this day.”
Try it right now: Close your eyes, take a deep breath, make a big smile, and say, “Thank you for this day.” Notice if you feel any different at the end of the week. You might be surprised.
Have a wonderful day!