Listen to or download audio blog: 3 essential elements to connect you to your Zen
A busy office is a frenetic environment. There is often a deluge of requests and tasks of varying complexity, coupled with a sense of urgency. There aren’t enough people to do the job and everything is needed 5 minutes ago. Sound familiar? Such conditions are hardly conducive to calm clear focus. Instead, our parasympathetic nervous system is frequently stimulated putting us into the ‘stress response’. Our blood pressure rises, our breath is shallow, our body is tense, we react quickly but we are also on edge. In this reactive state, we are not in our power center. A holistic solution to becoming your calm and productive ‘Zen’ self in the office should incorporate addressing your mental, physical and creative self. Let’s look at how you deal with situations when in a stressed state and what a Zen alternative could look like.
Consider your ‘firefighting’ self. It reacts to whatever comes your way, often yo-yoing you from task to task. You start work on a document, then respond to an incoming email, then switch focus again as you realize you need to prep for that meeting in 5 minutes. Then another email comes in, and you can’t stop yourself from having a quick peek to ensure it’s nothing urgent.
Now let’s look at how your Zen-self deals with all the demands coming your way. Your Zen-self knows your top priorities for the day, knows ahead of time what meetings you need to prep for and keeps focused on single tasks for much longer periods of time. Yes, that does mean not checking every email as it comes it when you are working on something else.
Your anxiety-driven-self see’s problems and obstacles. Your amazing analytical skills are focused on seeing all that is wrong. You fret about finding a solution or time to get things done, which actually uses up a lot of mental energy and time.
Your Zen-self is aware of the issues but the primary focus is on the solution. You know there is a positive way forward.
Your stressed-self is so identified with your mental activity that you have no awareness of how you are physically, or when your breathing is shallow, when your body is tense or when you are energetically off balance.
Your Zen-self regularly takes slow conscious deep breaths. Your Zen-self knows what a powerful tool your breath is to keep you grounded, calm, clear and focused. Your Zen-self knows that you need to get up from the desk regularly to move your body, to not be stuck in your head. Your Zen-self relishes those mindful moments of connecting to your senses – of tasting your food, of hearing laughter, of feeling the warmth of the sun on your face.
Your serious-self does not see the purpose or relevance of personal creativity or play in the workplace and does not have the time anyway.
Your Zen-self goes on lunchtime photo walks, seeing what is around with fresh eyes and playing with your own artistic abilities. Your Zen-self is inspired by how joyful the Dalai Lama is. Your Zen-self is playful with colleagues.
Your Zen-self loves to see the beautiful expansive sky.
Your Zen-self knows that inspiration and solutions flow more easily when you take time to step away from it all, even for a few minutes, and nourish your soul.
Your Zen-self is inside you now, waiting for you to connect.
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