14 Strategies for Leaders to Adopt or Practice Mindfulness

Adopting practices like mindfulness can be a great way to reduce stress and take back control of one's life.

Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights.
Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights. Newsweek Expert Forum

Between managing employees, monitoring the market and setting and achieving business goals, leaders have a lot of pressure on their shoulders. All of these responsibilities and expectations undoubtedly contribute to making stress a routine and ever-present part of the job for many leaders.

While leadership and stress can go hand-in-hand, pursuing practices like mindfulness could help leaders better manage their stress and take back control. To help leaders prevent stress from negatively impacting their productivity and morale, 14 Newsweek Expert Forum members offer advice for how leaders can adopt or practice mindfulness on a regular basis.

1. Create a Vision Board

Mindfulness can be so misunderstood. One tip I have for leaders is to create a vision board. This offers a visual of all that they want for themselves and their company over the next year or two. Put it in your office and look at it daily to create a mindfulness habit. Looking at it will spur ideas on how to accomplish those dreams and aspirations. It will also keep you grounded. - Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

2. Determine What Mindfulness Looks Like for You

Mindfulness can look different for everyone. For some, it might be prayer; for others, it might be some form of meditation. For me, it's about setting aside time each day to disconnect from the world, set my devices aside and reflect inward. This is a time to check on myself, make sure I am grounded and recenter myself around my core values. - Brendan P. Keegan, Merchants Fleet

3. Make Mindfulness a Priority

Leaders who want to start or grow their mindfulness practices need to make it a priority in their day. Leaders need to be intentional about setting time aside to devote to the practice. Once leaders begin to incorporate mindfulness regularly, it will become easier to be more present during the stressful times. Mindfulness will then become a habit and not be seen as "one more thing" to do. - Donna Marie Cozine, Consult DMC

4. Establish Consistency

Consistency is key. Establish a morning routine, even if it's just five minutes. Also, take it slow. I think so many of us expect immediate results, and when we don't achieve them, we give up. Finally, check-in with yourself throughout the day. Are you taking shallow breaths or deep breaths? Have you eaten foods that support your nutrition and goals? These are all quick exercises to help you stay present. - Jean Tien, Energetics of Being LLC

5. Focus on Being Present in the Moment

One tip for practicing mindfulness is focusing on what is happening right here and right now and nothing else. This might mean that a leader has to remind themselves to "be right here, right now," and that's much easier said than done. - Lisa Lundy, Lisa A Lundy

6. Schedule Intentional Time for Mindfulness

We make time for what is important. If you want to practice mindfulness, be intentional and schedule time for the activity. Try the five mindful exercises—breathing, observation, awareness, listening and appreciation—to see which ones feel more comfortable for practicing consistently. - LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group

7. Include Gratitude

I urge leaders to include gratitude in their practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness begins with reflection, which is ultimately guided by purpose. Keeping a gratitude journal can keep you grounded in the moment. It can also remind you of what to prioritize that day and help you set a plan to manage everyday stress. As our schedules are hectic and constantly shifting, let's work on anchoring ourselves in 2023. - Aaron Sherinian, Deseret Management Corporation

8. Avoid Multitasking

Use the transitions that are already naturally built into your day to practice presence. As you move from one location to the next, refrain from multitasking and picking up your device. Scan your five senses and engage in what the current environment has to offer. Use this time to also check-in with yourself and build awareness. A clear mind practices presence and refrains from multitasking. - Leah Marone, Corporate Wellness Consultant

9. Perform Internal Check-ins

Check in with yourself throughout the day. I like to check for judgmental or emotional myths throughout my day by practicing thinking in a nonjudgmental way and trying not to make my emotions facts. This keeps the toxicity out of my being. I add prayer and meditation to strengthen spirituality. Before heading to bed, I take accountability for my actions throughout the day and plan for my next morning. - Uriel Saenz, THE US LIFESTYLE GROUP LLC

10. Build in Blocks of Unstructured Time

Plan ahead and build in blocks of unstructured time on your calendar. You need to create space to rest the mind to allow innovative and creative thoughts to flow without distraction. Simple grounding and breathing techniques can be practiced in silence or as guided online practices. The type and duration doesn't matter, so do what comes naturally, clear your mind and let the magic flow. - Margie Kiesel, Avaneer Health

11. Train Your Mind to Naturally Wander

Being aware of our present is the hardest thing for all of us. The mind needs to be trained, so one simple way to start is to just let the mind wander without control until it comes back to the present. A mind is like water in a fist where the more you press, the more it flows out. Loosen your fist and let it take shape first. Molding it is the second step. - Manish Seth, Volektra

12. Meditate

Meditation can cultivate mindfulness, helping us reach equanimity by not being reactive to our thoughts, emotions and body sensations. Immediately upon waking, I meditate for 30 minutes daily. This practice makes a tremendous difference in my mindfulness during the day, allowing me to be more patient, positive and surrender to all events, good and bad. If I skip meditation, everyone feels the difference! - Jeff Chen, Radicle Science

13. Construct a Mindful Morning Routine

I start every workday with an hour of yoga and meditation, followed by a two-hour walk. It's tempting to wake up and start checking Slack immediately, but I've always found that it sets a different tone than if I start my day energized and focused. As a leader, I can't afford to let my attention be hijacked. Starting the day mindfully helps me laser in on the most important tasks and decisions, not the noisiest. - Michael Gilbert, Semios

14. Keep Everything Simple

I encourage making time for mindfulness and avoiding overcomplicating any practice. Finding time for mindfulness can be hard for any leader, especially those confined in busy work environments. Start small as you fine-tune your preferred mindfulness practice, and then schedule regular mindfulness sessions into your calendar. Make sure you treat your mindfulness practice like any other important task. - Dr. Kira Graves, Kira Graves Consulting

The Newsweek Expert Forum is an invitation-only network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.
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