11 Ways Business Leaders Can Approach Practicing Mindfulness

Taking even a short break during the workday to focus on centering and caring for oneself is critical when running a business.

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Every entrepreneur knows that running a business is an endeavor that can easily spill stress over to areas of life outside of work. That's why practicing mindfulness is top of mind for business leaders wanting to change this unhealthy dynamic.

While telling yourself to slow down and focus on something besides work seems simple enough, taking a break, even one as short as five minutes, is easier said than done. To help leaders learn how to take it easy, 11 Newsweek Expert Forum members share advice on how one can simply approach practicing mindfulness while also operating a successful business.

1. Form a New Habit

Each morning, commit to five minutes of mindfulness meditation. Become Pavlovian about it, with your alarm going off and triggering you to open your mindfulness app. You don't even have to move. Stay laying down and spend five glorious minutes focused on your breathing. Invite work and life thoughts to come back in five. Soon it'll be a habit and you won't even have to think about it. - Kayleen Brown, TMG360 Media, LLC

2. Use Apps

For several years now, I have used the Breathe app on my Apple Watch to help me practice mindfulness. By taking a few minutes throughout the day to achieve a state of focused relaxation, I find that I'm able to better concentrate. The app gives me an easy way to focus on my breathing and, with the tactile reminders, it helps keep my mind from wandering during the exercise. - Tom Glover, Responsive Technology Partners

3. Focus on Being Grateful

I've always struggled with meditation; the digital world is fast-paced and "monkey mind" becomes my arch-nemesis every time I stop for a few minutes and try to slow down. One approach that has worked for me is taking time to stop and think about all the things I am grateful for. This takes my mind off work and lets me realize how blessed we truly are in life. - Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

4. Make It Easy

Instead of trying to carve out a 20-minute chunk each day, aim for two or three one-minute bite-sized doses of mindfulness. That will work wonders, eventually enabling you to graduate to longer levels of practice. And if you need a further boost, schedule these one-minute sessions and even create a calendar alert. - Todd Miller, ENRICH: Create Wealth in Time, Money, and Meaning

5. Start Journaling

If your mind tends to wander when practicing mindfulness, journaling can be a great strategy to help focus your thoughts. Free-form writing allows you to release thoughts and ideas that you were not aware of. When you don't feel like writing, you can go back and read your previous entries. These entries can reveal desires to pursue and sometimes past hurts that need to be processed. - LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group

6. Take a Break To Breathe

Take one minute to decompress. When you're feeling stressed, concentrate on your breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose for three seconds, hold for two seconds and then exhale through your mouth for four seconds. Do this five times. It all takes one minute—literally. You'll be much less stressed after that one minute. - Kevin Vallely, The AIP Group

7. Listen Deeply

When entering a conversation or a meeting, release your internal agenda and authentically listen to understand. Get curious in your listening and hear beyond just the words, listening for emotion, intent, desire, goals and inspirations. Then confirm what you heard and respond with, not at, those around you. - Rana DeBoer, Keystone Group International

8. Compartmentalize

Work never ends as there is always more work to be done. What's important is compartmentalizing time to handle certain tasks. Compartmentalization allows you to allocate time for meetings, time for email and time just for reading. More importantly, it allows you to also have time left over for personal things, such as working out or spending time with family. - Ian Kane, Unbanked

9. Embrace Devices

The easier the mindfulness approach, the more likely busy entrepreneurs are to stick to it. I find my Apple Watch to be a fantastic tool to practice short spurts of mindfulness throughout the day. You can program it to prompt you to pay attention to your breathing for a few breaths or to give you a question you can concentrate on. - Priscila Martinez, The Brand Agency

10. Disconnect

Learn to disconnect. I've always struggled with meditation until I went on a 10-day meditation retreat where I was required to be mobile and internet free. The experience helped me recognize the importance of being present in the moment and has played a big role in my current mindfulness practice. - Mo Ghoneim, Arts Help

11. Be Present in the Moment

Mindfulness means bringing your attention to what's happening in the present moment—both inside and outside of yourself. This is key to good decision making. Practice mindfulness every hour for five minutes by sitting still without any devices and experiencing your body and noticing your thoughts. Just breathe. If your mind is very distracted, say to yourself, "I am here, I am now." - Kimberly Brown, Meditation with Heart

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