Guest contribution from Wendy Quan
Mindfulness offers a wealth of practices that can help in times of distress. It can allow you to observe when your thoughts are spiralling out of control and to notice what’s influencing your reactions. It can help you make better decisions, be more effective and not regret your reactions afterwards.
Here is a simple practice you can call upon in the heat of the moment:
Pause and take a mindful breath. Give yourself a micro opportunity to mentally ‘step away’.
Notice your emotions. Check in with yourself. It only takes an instant to do so. Can you identify and label the emotions you’re having right now, in this moment? It could be surprise, anger, disbelief or many other emotions.
By identifying and labeling your emotions, you give yourself the opportunity to gain some objectivity on the situation at hand. It gives you some space to consider what you feel are appropriate possible responses.
If you are in a situation that requires immediate action, take a mindful breath. If you have a bit more time (e.g. preparing to go into a heated meeting), close your eyes just for a minute and experience your breath. You can find some calmness, composure and clarity of thought in just a short moment.
3. Take Action
After making a decision on the best appropriate response, take action mindfully. Notice how you are responding: your behaviour, body language, tone of voice, etc. Being mindful of your actions lets you create the experience you wish to have, rather than succumbing to auto-pilot responses triggered in the heat of the moment.
Call upon this simple Pause, Notice, Take Action practice as a tool to get you through those unsettling moments.
Wendy Quan, founder of The Calm Monkey, is an industry leader in training and certifying experienced meditators to become mindfulness meditation facilitators in their workplace or community. She combines change management with mindfulness meditation to help people through difficult change and is the creator of the Dealing with Change Toolkit.
Wendy is a certified organizational change manager who has been recognized as a pioneer by the Greater Good Science Center of the University of California, Berkeley, the global Association of Change Management Professionals and the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources. Her clients include Google, the government of Dubai, University of British Columbia, the US Senate, and individuals and Fortune 500 organizations worldwide.