Mindfulness is a way of living life to decrease stress, improve wellness, and boost happiness. Meditation is one way to practice being still in the moment, instead of being anxious, worrying, and fearing what could happen.
I feel one of the best ways to use mindfulness is to improve how you handle conflict inside and outside of the workplace. Having a peaceful mind will help you (and, indirectly, others) focus on finding a positive way forward instead of getting bogged down in all the other chaos in your head that’s leading you in unhelpful directions (ladies this is HUGE for you as we think of too many things throughout our days).
Here are a few ways you can practice mindfulness:
1. Stop Judging and Have Patience
We all have opinions. We all have ideas. About EVERYTHING. So, stop. In a conflict, actively listen and hold off on judging the other person and their thoughts. Instead, be open-minded about their perspective and solutions they may have. You never know - their solution may be the best one! But be patient. If you are impatient, this leads to not being in the present moment and you rush opportunities that could benefit the conversation and relationship.
2. Have Fresh Eyes
Our minds project so many desires, opinions and past hurts - many may be years old - onto current situations. These past histories can make it hard to see what is actually going on now in the moment. Using fresh eyes, be mindful of the other person's past as well as your own, as it can greatly benefit the difficult conversation. When you acknowledge the hurts, people feel valued and it shifts their mindset to more positive possibilities for the outcome.
Oh trust. It starts with believing in yourself and knowing that your experiences and your perspective are perfectly right for you. The more you trust yourself, the more trust you bring to others because you have all that is needed to bring forth a wonderful outcome.
4. Gratitude and Generosity and Grace
These three mindsets (especially when used together) bring lightheartedness, appreciation, and connection to those difficult situations. By not taking everything for granted, by allowing others the opportunities to succeed, and provide grace, you enhance relationships. And what difficult conversation won't benefit from these three?!
Mindfulness isn't something that you can achieve completely overnight. Observing and recognizing your behavior is the first step to changing it, so that’s the best place to start.
Tips: Practice mindfulness daily. For example, the next time you notice yourself judging someone at work for something they said or did, stop and notice the feeling, then let the thought go. If after a few minutes you are still upset or angry, take a few deep breaths and observe things around you that get your mind off the situation. Step outside. Color (I always have a coloring book and crayons handy in my office!).
Simple tips and daily practices like this will help you make mindfulness a habit, which in turn makes it easier to access in difficult conversations.