There are so many different mindfulness techniques, and they can be as simple as going for a walk outdoors to clear your mind and energy, or it can be meditating for an hour every day.
As a small business owner, I understand what it means to have a super busy schedule. But as a psychic energy healer, I know how much more important it is to be incorporating even the smallest mindfulness techniques in your day.
Keeping in mind the busy life of running a small business, I put together a short list of very simple mindfulness techniques that won’t seem overwhelming. Even though they are small, these mindfulness tips can help you make big shifts with your business (and personal life).
With this list of mindfulness tips, there’s no chronological order or requirement. I encourage you to start with what you are drawn to the most. If you really feel unsure with where to start, then use this as a checklist and go through each thing.
One last note before I get into the list: mindfulness is not a miracle pill you take once and are done. These exercises require repetition and dedication. You may begin to notice a shift within the first month, but if you really expect to see a big change, this requires monthly and yearly dedication just like any physical exercise and nutrition for getting in shape.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a day, or if it doesn’t seem to be working right away - you are in the process of breaking a subconscious pattern you have defaulted to for a while, if not your whole life. That means it will take a lot of time, but it can be done!
A Guide to Mindfulness for the Small Business Owner
Notice if you are exhaling
Most people assume that they are always breathing, but the truth is, you aren’t. In fact, unless you constantly feel yourself deeply exhaling, your default is to “hold” your breath, meaning shallow breathing and inhaling more than you exhale.
In moments where you feel any “off” emotions, i.e. anxiety, frustration, or impatience, notice your exhaling – or lack thereof. Then take a few very deep exhales until you feel more centered. This mindfulness tip is so simple yet can be difficult at first to keep up with (as most are on this list).
However, if you start dedicating yourself to the practice of exhaling and noticing when you aren’t, over time you’ll have your subconscious reprogrammed so that exhaling deeply frequently comes naturally to you.
The more you exhale, the more oxygen flow and the more your body releases carbon dioxide.
From Yoga Journal:
“With each breath, millions of sensory receptors in the respiratory system send signals via the vagus nerve to the brainstem. Fast breathing pings the brain at a higher rate, triggering it to activate the sympathetic nervous system, turning up stress hormones, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, sweat production, and anxiety. On the other hand, slowing your breathing induces the parasympathetic response, dialing down all of the above as it turns up relaxation, calm, and mental clarity.”
If you are to ignore everything else on this list, I would emphasize that you absolutely need to be working on your exhaling so you can feel mentally clear enough to handle obstacles as you run your small business, and so you are physically healthy.
In eastern medicine, it’s strongly believed that the root cause of a disease is stress, so learning how to use the power of breath is super important!
A breathwork meditation
Remember how I mentioned in Part 1 of this article series that meditation isn’t meant for stopping thoughts? One of the most effective meditation practices you can do is the simple breathwork meditation, meaning you pause from whatever you’re doing and simply focus on your breath. It doesn’t matter how many wild thoughts you have, or how long you can initially do this meditation for. Maybe it’s just 1 minute, or it could be 10 minutes long.
I even do this when I’m at a stoplight in my car. I notice that I think a lot while driving. It’s good because sometimes that’s how I can strategize on plans or reflect, but I can also end up overthinking. So, when I get to a stoplight, I take a few seconds to return my focus on my breath. When I do it, I immediately feel the tension in my body release and my awareness is brought back to the present moment.
If I can do it at a stoplight for about 30 seconds in my car, you can do this for 30 seconds a few times a day while you are running your business. If, for example, you feel like you’re starting your day in a bad mood, pause for a couple of minutes and just focus on your breath. You’ll feel your energy shifting into a state of more peace, which can turn your day around and lead to more productivity (instead of being caught up in the low vibes).
This small exercise can also work wonders when you are in more severe situations while running your small business. Maybe some of the tools you need to run your business get damaged by an unexpected water leak in your office. Take as much time as you need to focus on your breathing until you feel more level-headed and clear-minded, which will help you make the appropriate next steps instead of acting out irrationally on your insurance agents, the building owner, or your employees.
Self-scan your body
A perfect complement to breathwork, doing a self-scan of your body allows you to be positively accountable for the way you are putting out energy in the workplace.
Let’s say, for example, you are working with a builder on the design of your new office. He shows you the initial blueprint of the space, and you notice he either ignored some requests or is being difficult about making adjustments. Or, it can be as simple as something you wanted to happen in your new office design, but it can’t because of an unforeseen problem. When you are in a moment that can pose any stress, take a few seconds to scan your body for where you are holding tension. Are your hands curled tightly into fists or are they relaxed? What about your chest and shoulders - are they raised and tight?
Wherever you notice any tension or tightness in your body, take a few seconds or minutes for intentionally relaxing and dropping out of it. Usually, focusing on the point of stress in your body with deep exhales helps send the signals to your brain that it’s okay to allow that part of the body to relax. It also helps to visualize your breath going through the areas of your body that need relief.
The more your body relaxes, and the less tension you hold, the better you feel and the easier it is for you to have clarity and go with the flow. Being a small business owner means you will have a lot of obstacles and failures thrown at you. If you haven’t been good at handling those in the past, now is the time to work on it with mindfulness and “going with the flow.” The benefit is that over time, you’ll realize that all problems have some sort of solution, even if that means you have to eliminate something you wanted to happen.
Other people are also influenced by your energy, and if you’re holding onto negativity they can pick up on it. As a small business owner, you not only represent your brand, but you’re also a leader to employees and customers. Body language is something humans naturally can pick up on in other people and can influence how people respond to you or not. Body language can make or break a business transaction, partnership opportunity, or your business’ work culture if you are continuing to carry negativity.
Don’t take anything personally
This can be a hard practice to implement, but it is completely worth your while as a small business owner. You’re in a space where everyone is thinking about themselves - competitors are only thinking about themselves, potential investors are only thinking about themselves, and customers are only thinking about themselves. So, if someone does something that throws you off guard, don’t take it personally – even if it is personal.
Why is this tip so important? Many of us are conditioned to see the world as working against us, and that we have to fend for ourselves. That often turns into assuming the worst from others or that someone else is making a decision to hurt us intentionally. The truth is, just like you are trying to make your business a success, people are doing things in an attempt to make their own businesses or lives success. This often turns out with people disregarding you and your business in their decision-making.
If you want to keep growing your business and maintain healthy work relationships, not taking things personally is so important. It also helps you understand when someone is actually acting inappropriately, and from there you can take the right steps.
This tip also helps you maintain peace of mind because worrying about why someone gave your business a poor review or went to your competitor instead of you isn’t worth losing sleep over or feeling poorly about your value. There will also be business opportunities that just aren’t meant for you or aligned with your goals.
Learning how to not take things personally helps you get better with discernment and knowing what things are best for your business.
Set daily intentions
While you already know to set goals for your small business, your mind can get lost in the outcome (whether you hit that specific goal according to your timeframe or not) rather than the process to making that happen. Intention setting helps get you from A to Z, but it’s different from intending to make that specific outcome happening. Instead, it’s a focus on daily actions that will lead you to that outcome.
An example that works really well for anyone is “I intend to do my best work today.” That doesn’t mean each day you will get the same results or perform at the same level, but rather it means for whatever current state of mind and physical condition your body is at, you intend to do your best.
The important thing with setting intentions is to think about it for a minute or two, and then to let go of it instead of keeping your focus on it. It helps to repeat the intention a few times, just so you actually get it into your subconscious mind. When you focus on something, you give power to it, and then when you relax and let it go, it can manifest.
Flow not force by shifting your focus
Naturally, when an issue arises we think that we’ll find the solution by actively focusing on solving the problem. The truth is, energy flows where your attention goes. This means that whatever you are focusing on, you’re creating more energy behind it instead of what you want.
In other words, the more you focus on the problem, the more energy you put on the problem than the solution. Even though you think you’re searching for a solution, the dominant focus is “I have an issue and I need to fix it.”
You’ve probably experienced this quite a few times – you keep trying to think of something but you can’t, and as soon as you stop thinking about it the answer comes to you. When you shift your focus, that’s when you are “flowing” instead of “forcing” something to happen.
As a small business owner, you’re definitely going to run into road bumps and obstacles that may make you want to pull your hair out. When you implement this practice of shifting your focus, you’ll both alleviate stress (because you remove your attention from the thing causing you stress) and let the solutions come to you naturally with more ease.
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