Back in the late ’80s I began to dabble in meditation and other mindfulness practices. (I also had phenomenal hair and some wicked dance moves, but that is a story for another blog post.) Over the years, I continued to develop and use these techniques to become more self-aware. Mindfulness, in its many forms, also helped me save my own life. I suffered from severe PTSD due to childhood trauma, and the techniques helped me become more aware that what I felt was not me; it was passing. It gave me an awareness that was transformational.
I was also able to use mindfulness to shift from an autocratic leader to a high-engagement, more positive leader. I even used these methods to change my relationships. At one time I was fairly insensitive, a terrible listener, and not that good at praising or celebrating the women I dated. Practicing mindfulness helped me to savor the beautiful things about them. I was able to have deeper, more meaningful relationships by being present and listening deeply.
There are many different kinds of mindfulness techniques. Last month we talked about creating a MeTube playlist, which is the mindfulness method of choosing what to focus on and using that focus to guide you.
I want to guide you through creating a helpful mental video to add to your MeTube playlist. It’s a calming video designed to help out when you’re about to walk into a high-stress situation where you want to be your best.
I’ve been using this particular “MeTube video” for decades. It has helped me gain more positivity, think clearly in stressful situations, and to support others during difficult circumstances.
In fact, I was recently in a meeting where a person was verbally lashing out at me. I started to react to the situation by clenching up and I wanted to respond in kind. But I took a deep breath, cultivated my calming feelings, and thought, “My goal here is to give him the best possible service I can in the moment, not to prove myself to him.”
Here are the steps to creating a Calming MeTube Video:
- Start by sitting upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Sit as straight as you can while still being comfortable. Place your hands on your lap and close your eyes.
- Begin to play in your mind a memory of the most relaxing situation you’ve experienced in your life. It can be a time playing with a puppy, witnessing a beautiful sunset, or spending a moment with your significant other. It can be anything, and you never have to tell anybody about this place.
- Start to slow and deepen your breathing. Now begin to immerse yourself and focus on the most relaxing parts of this memory. Observe your senses during the memory: what you hear, what you feel, what you smell, what you see. Do this for 2-3 minutes.
- Now notice how you feel differently than you did before you started. Most people will feel more relaxed. You’ve literally changed your biochemistry.
In the next few days, reflect back on and cultivate this feeling multiple times. It’s far easier to do this exercise before a stressful situation to prime yourself into a peaceful state of mind. Then during the situation, continue the deep breathing and recalling your senses to help you feel as relaxed as possible.
The good news is that after doing this mindfulness exercise just one time you will notice a small difference. The great news is the more you do it, the better you will get at it. If you practice this daily it will become a habit and a neuro-network that you can come back to and use quickly.
If you’re interested in more mindfulness techniques, for yourself or your team, I teach mindfulness workshops, both virtually or in person. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions.
And if you use this technique, let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear about it.