Have a holiday every day
You know that feeling when you come back from holidays and you have fresh eyes – you can see new opportunities and somehow some of the things that used to bug you seem small and unimportant. Suddenly everything is possible and no obstacle is too difficult to overcome. This sensation is called perspective. Nothing has changed in the environment. What has has changed is your perspective. Now imagine if you could regularly create such a fresh perspective in your work place, in the home, at the gym or wherever you are that feels humdrum? Well you can and here’s how. By the way, I practice this myself and use it with my clients; all you need is time and space: minimum ten minutes’ time, and a space where you can “be”, undisturbed.
Once you are in a comfortable and safe space, bring yourself to sit well. By that I mean upright with good and relaxed posture. If you are comfortable closing your eyes, then go ahead.
Firstly think about your breathing. Notice your inward breath and the sensation of the air passing through your mouth or nose, and down your throat; notice the rise of your chest and belly as the air fills you; and then notice the outward breath and the short space of relaxation between the end of an outward breath and the next inward breath. Take a few moments focussing on your breathing and use the time to let your mind clear out.
I want you to think about a place you have visited where you felt supremely happy. Perhaps it’s a holiday destination, or somewhere near your home, or even a place you have visited that makes you feel good. It should be somewhere that when you think about it makes you go “ahhhhh”. As you think about this place, start to connect with the smells of the environment, with the taste in the air, with the way your skin feels as it is exposed to the air, with the sounds you can hear as well as what you can see around you. And spend some time here. Visualise where you are and take time soaking up all these sensations. Be curious about what it’s like to be here. Enjoy it. Experience it. Allow yourself to relax into being here.
When you are ready, gradually move back to your breathing – noticing the flow of air and the movement of your body. And finally, open your eyes and slowly bring yourself back to your surroundings.
Now take a moment to notice yourself. How do you feel? What do you notice about your body? What do you notice about your mind? What do you notice about your surroundings? How do they look? How do you feel? Take some time reflecting on this short meditation so that you can “bottle” any of the feelings you just experienced that could be helpful to take into the rest of the day. These could be feelings of calm, of energy, of relaxation – who knows?
So why would you do this? This is a kind of meditation and there is much research that recognises the virtues of meditation to create new neural pathways in the brain (which means you can think differently and usually better) and to build resilience and wellbeing (see http://oxfordmindfulness.orgfor more about this). It also can give you that “take a step back” experience and allow you to refresh your perspective on what’s around you. And when you are busy in the workplace, you need to actively step back in order to think strategically and to see what’s really happening. As leaders, we must do this or we risk not noticing the new competitor in the market place, or the change in dynamics in our teams that requires our attention.
So try it out: you can do it once a week or once a day – like anything, the more you work at it, the greater the return. And if you feel moved to, please share your experiences in the comments field below about what you notice and what you learn.
As a Co-Activecoach, I help my clients gain insight and perspective and energy every day through tapping into their own internal (and often underused) resources. If you would like to know more about coaching with me, please get in touch to chat and arrange a free sample session.