If you are in a high stress leadership position – or any demanding management role – then you might find it that much harder to do your job than your employees. There is no shame to it; it shows that you care about what you are doing, and that you want to do your best. But where do you turn to when it starts to get a little overwhelming? With so much stigma attached to mental ill health it is easy to understand why so many business men and women suffer from high blood pressure, stress and often heart problems in their later lives.
So what can you do to combat this? After all, you are feeling fine, right? You're a little frustrated maybe, a little quicker to snap than you normally might be, but that's all. It doesn't mean you are losing the plot and it doesn't mean you are a future serial killer. It is a normal process by which your brain is trying to let you know something is wrong...
...Think of the human brain as a computer hard drive. You can only fit so many things to do in there before it starts to struggle with how much space everything takes up. Eventually you are having to delete things to squeeze in what you need – unless, of course, you can format it and tidy it up... and that's why the modern business leader needs Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the name given to the process by which we can live our lives in a way that is harmonious – not only with everyone else, but also with ourselves. The Tibetan Monks practise mindfulness through meditation; the quietening of the so-called 'Monkey Brain' in order to find the inner peace and stillness that they believe make them closer to Buddha. Whether you apply any spiritual beliefs or not the point remains the same: that by silencing the brain we put ourselves in the moment, and forget about past and future troubles. Thus when we apply mindfulness to our working lives it becomes easier to make it through the day. When stressed take a few moments to breathe deeply and calm yourself, find time in your lunch break to get outside and walk around, find all the little ways that you enjoy each day and exemplify them...and eventually the stress will start to fade.
Mindfulness is ideal for business leaders who want to nip stress out before it develops into a fully blown mental health condition and they need to take time off. Remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup, and for your business dealings to be successful you must first be healthy and happy. You will make much better progress in that all-important meeting if you don't show up stressed out of your head!
There are some great tools available to help you too. Apps such as Calm, Headspace and Stop, Breathe and Think are excellent tools for mindfulness. Along with technology you should also consider simple steps like going for a walk, spending some time in nature, or writing down your thoughts in a diary can all be helpful in giving your mind a much deserved break.
If you are still struggling, even with your mindfulness practices thrown in, then there is no shame in getting professional help – that's what it is there for! If you would like to learn more about mindfulness practices in business terms we can talk you through it. It is always better to put your mind at rest by actively combating the problem than it is by letting it fester. Mindfulness is a prospect we should pitch to our employees as well – because leaders aren't the only ones who get stressed! So take some time for yourself, relax, and don't ever feel guilty about it. It will make you a better leader in the process.
If you would like to find out how we can support you with any of the topics raised in this blog post, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0800 0293739.