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“Can I get a minute of your time?” “This will only take a minute” “Hang on a minute”. We all hear these phrases daily and we  know they always mean more than a minute. Professional work-day schedules are jam packed with activities of productivity requiring your responses to past issues, current needs and future plans. Phone calls, conferences, video chats, lunches, fires to put out or prevent, not to mention the occasional intrusion of a personal life. These daily responsibilities stress even the most organized, Type A mangers among us. Wait a second, more precisely, wait a minute! Where in this sea of productivity have you scheduled a Me-Minute?

Corporate and Workplace environments have jumped onto a newer trend in mental wellness called Mindfulness. It is gaining in Western culture as a method of reducing stress, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and even chronic pain. Mindfulness is defined as “the practice of maintaining a non-judgemental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions or experiences on a moment to moment basis. A state of awareness.” Practicing a mindfulness minute, through meditation, is a method for overcoming negative thoughts and emotions, and achieving a calmer, focused state of mind. Meditation is an easy way to practice mindfulness, but how do you do it and who has the time? Mindfulness for Dummies by Shamash Alidina is one source for information as well as Melissa Eisler’s blog “Mindful Minutes”. She uses mindful meditation to teach us how to strike a work-life balance in the stressful corporate grind by setting boundaries and managing distractions with the end goal of increased focus, productivity, relationship and happiness levels.

One Minute Meditation

Schedule a routine minute in a distraction free zone. Sit up tall, turn your technology timer to one minute and close your eyes. Be present in your skin and breathe. It’s OK to acknowledge distractions. Don’t ignore them, just refocus and breathe. That’s one of the points.  OK, here we go:

  • Visualize a breath. Bring all your attention to your breathing.
  • Picture your breath as a brightly colored balloon (go with the first color you see)
  • Inhale, visualizing the balloon expanding and getting brighter
  • Exhale, visualizing the balloon deflating and growing dimmer

Repeat this exercise until your timer goes off.  Take a deep cleansing breathe before opening your eyes. Take a second to analyze how you feel at this moment. You can recall this feeling at will throughout your day by concentrating on your breath or visualizing your balloon. For more quick mindfulness meditations, Ms. Eisler offers more bite sized practices for you.

Mindfulness is about paying attention to what is happening as it is happening. Living in the moment, right here and now, sitting in this chair, feeling the temperature in the room, the floor under your feet, letting go of the past and control over the future, just for a minute.  We all go from situation to reaction.  The trick is to insert yourself between your automatic reaction and train yourself to make an alternate and conscious response and look at things from a fresh perspective.  Respond not react.

For more information, you can also refer to this Beginners Guide.

By its very nature, working in Interim Healthcare Leadership roles comes with some potential extreme stress. New work environment, unknown dynamics of the new role and staff, looming Joint Commission or other surveys, to name a few are expected in the Interim Healthcare Leader world. We are seeing this technique of mindfulness minutes growing in popularity and are testing it out in our NHS Solutions office as well. Contact us if you’d like to hear how it is going and to hear about working with NHS Solutions for your next career move.