Box Breathing – Also known as 4-square breathing, this exercise helps to clear your mind, relax your body, and improve your focus. Not only is it highly effective, but it’s also quick to learn and easy to do.
Close your eyes (if you are in a place where you can) and breathe in through your nose while slowly counting to 4. Pay attention to the air filling your lungs.
Hold your breath for a slow count of 4. Slowly exhale to a count of 4.
Repeat. It’s best to repeat this for 4 minutes.
It’s as easy as that! I find this exercise especially helpful when I’m in meetings that don’t go as smoothly as I wanted. No one knows I’m doing it.
Gratitude – It’s true that perspective makes a huge difference in life. For this exercise, spend the first 5 minutes of your day writing at least 5 things you are grateful for at work. Don’t make this hard. If you have to be thankful for the chair you’re sitting in, go for it. Being grateful can change your day.
Build Deeper Connections – even virtually – Studies show that connecting with others increases resiliency. Think about being with your friends. Did you smile? Being with friends gives us a sense of belonging, allows us to our authentic selves, and boosts self-esteem. Next time you’re in a meeting change up your introductions. Instead of sharing what you do, focus on who you are. If you’re meeting with a group of people who already know each other, just re-introduce yourselves. Share your favorite vacation spot, or something unique about yourself that others don’t know. This is a great activity that any team (new or established) can do to get to know each other better.
Befriend Your Triggers – What are the things or people at work that send your blood pressure through the roof? Choose one that happens often and over the course of a week, pay attention to sensations, gestures, postures you embody when this comes up. Notice the part of your body that’s involved. Does your chest tighten? Do your hands ball up in a fist? Your face turn read or your breathing speed up? Keep a list to help you pay attention. When you have identified your usual response, determine how you would rather feel. Look for places in your life where you already experience that state. Get really clear about the difference between the two states. Then, at least 3 times a day, consciously interrupt your trigger state and replace it with your best self. In time it will become your go-to response.
Explore Your Strengths – Resilience is not just about finding areas to improve. Recognizing and acknowledging those areas you excel in is also a great way to build resilience. Your strengths are something you can build on to go from good to great. In the next 5 minutes write a list of all your strengths. Don’t stop writing and don’t judge yourself. Choose at least 6 that stand out for you and create a mantra. Every day, before your workday starts, repeat this mantra to yourself 10 times.
Here’s an example to get you thinking: “I am a bold and courageous woman who never quits. I have an adventurous spirit that takes me to incredible places. And I always turn chaos to stars!”
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