How would you like to feel calmer, more focused, and confident in your everyday life?
If your mind is a flurry of chaos and disorder, you can’t expect much better in your day-to-day life. Add the stress of finding a new role or extra pressure at work, and it’s no wonder you feel overwhelmed and out of control.
Let’s say you’ve been applying for jobs and preparing for interviews for weeks. Finally, you apply for a job that sounds perfect. You send your resume and get a callback. After reviewing all the information you could, practicing for the interview for hours, and scanning your resume one last time, you’ve got 15 minutes until you go live with the hiring manager. How can you use this time to help you come across as the calm, confident dream candidate who deserves the role?
Try this: mindfulness meditation.
What is Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness is the quality of being able to stay with the present moment on purpose and without judgment. Mindfulness practice is an exercise that helps one to cultivate this quality of attention” as Caroline Contillo said.
Boiled down, mindfulness is the ability to focus on the present moment without losing your cool if your mind strays off and gets wrapped up in the past or the future.
What’s so great about the present moment? To quote Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier (which is a great, fun book that will convince even the most staunch naysayer of meditation’s power) “Make the present moment your friend rather than your enemy. Because many people live habitually as if the present moment were an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment. And imagine living your whole life like that, where always this moment is never quite right, not good enough because you need to get to the next one. That is continuous stress.”
Since there’s nothing you can do to change the past and putting too much importance on the future will leave you forever in pursuit of happiness, the only thing left is the present moment. The present moment is where the great joys of life happen, don’t miss it.
How Do You Practice Mindfulness?
You can try a number of ways to bring awareness to the present moment (Uplift even has 10 things you can do at work to promote mindfulness on our blog). The key is to interrupt your auto-pilot patterns of thinking incessantly about the past and future. We can honestly recommend these three methods because they are the most basic and easy to achieve no matter how busy your schedule is.
- Body Scan Meditation – A body scan is a type of meditation where you sit still and focus your attention on different parts of the body. The idea is you’ll stay in the present moment by training your mind to only feel and think of that body part. Try this one lead by Mindfulness Master, Jon Kabat-Zinn.
- Everyday Mindfulness – Infuse your everyday activities like brushing your teeth, washing dishes, or folding laundry with mindfulness by being completely present and focused only on the activity at hand. Multi-tasking is the enemy. As we mentioned in our blog post about how to reduce distractions, multi-tasking leads to poor focus and performance on a bunch of things rather than great work on one.
- Breathing – The breath is an easy anchor for your mindfulness practice. As always with any new habit, start small. Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes, sit still, and count your breaths from 1 to 10 and then 10 to 1. If your mind meanders and starts thinking about your to-do list, just gently bring it back to the breath counting.
What to Expect from Mindfulness
Although you will reap enhanced benefits from a regular mindfulness practice, you can use these three techniques to treat yourself on the spot when you feel stressed or overwhelmed. Many of our candidates use a brief 10-minute breathing or body scan meditation before every job interview. Mindfulness has been proven to:
- Decreased stress response
- Increased immune system activity
- Increased capacity for compassion
- Improved ability to regulate emotions
- Increased ability to relax
- Improvements in chronic pain levels
- Improvements in anxiety and depression symptoms
- Improved ability to experience moments with greater clarity and objectivity
We Invite You to Get to Know the Present Moment
Whether you’re about to step into a big interview or procrastinating instead of applying for jobs, take a break to center yourself, focus on your breathing, and mediation to get back on track. Post-mindfulness session, you will feel recharged, re-focused, and more confident about the next step in your journey.
Mindfulness meditation can be instrumental during a high-stress job search, throughout your career, and for the rest of your life. Studies have shown that even just a few minutes of mindful breathing has massive effects including reduced anxiety, negative thinking, and improved overall mood.
I hope you enjoyed exploring the concept of mindfulness and how it can change your job search and your life.
QUESTION: What do you do calm yourself before stressful career moments like a job interview or a big presentation?