Today’s post is from Samantha Russell, blogger and Eating Psychology Coach in training. She approached me with the topic of how mindfulness can help your business, so of course I said YES immediately. I think you’ll really enjoy the insight she has to share.
As wellness entrepreneurs we not only want health and wellness for ourselves but for our customers, clients, and patients. One way we can do this is by being wellness role-models. By modelling – with authenticity – actions, thoughts, and beliefs that can really heal, we can do our job at a truly deeper level. One key that will help your health, business, and clients is the practice of ‘slow’.
This idea has been around for a while, and was popularized in the book ‘In Praise of Slow’ by Carl Honoré, and today I’m going to dive into this concept a little and how it can really help you improve not only your own well-being, but that of your wellness business too.
Why ‘go slow’?
There’s a quote from poet Stephen Dobyns that sums up how most of us do our days, “Each thing I do, I rush through so I can do something else.” I know I’ve found myself doing this more than I’d like to admit. I’m sure you have too.
This is no way to live! And it’s certainly no way to be a successful wellness entrepreneur. So, what’s the answer? You guessed it! Going Slow.
So, what does it mean to ‘go slow’?
Well, it doesn’t actually mean that you have to move slowly, or necessarily take more time over things – though in our busy, rushed schedules, this might be a good idea! The core of the ‘slow’ concept is that we should take enough time to be really mindful and present in our lives in all our activities and interactions. Rather than mentally rushing through to get to the next thing, we go mentally slow, focusing on one thing at a time.
Why should I do this? Won’t it just mean I get less done?
Quite the contrary. By being mindful of the present moment and taking as much time as you need to get the job (whatever it may be) done properly, you set yourself up to not only create real quality in you life and business, but to put yourself into a full-body relaxation response.
The benefits of this simply can not be overstated. Coming to life or work from a place of stress sets you up (through increased cortisol, inflammation, decreased calorie burning, and a host of other less than great body responses) to be a lot less than you could be – both in terms of your health and your business performance. When you are relaxed, which is helped a lot by being mindful, present, and slow, you counteract this and can show up in the world with vibrant authenticity.
What are some of the benefits you can expect from ‘going slow’ in life and work?
You can experience improved:
- depth and understanding of yourself and others
- digestion, nutrition, and calorie burning
- mood and stability
There are a ton more benefits, but just that little taster should get you interested. Basically, practicing going slow will help you create the conditions you need to be open to receiving – nutrition, relaxation, clients, inspiration. By being mentally slow and open to the moment, it helps you have your hands open to life.
Ok, let’s get practical.
How can you incorporate some ‘slow’ into your day?
- Mindful eating. I’ve written about this before, and eating is something we can all spend a little more time concentrating on. Our natural tendency as busy entrepreneurs is to ‘grab a bite’ at our desk, on the way home, before bed, before we pick up the kids…. And that’s ok. We can’t always take the time to have a full sit-down meal three times a day. But, we can aim for ONE. And those meals that we do have to eat on the go? Take three deep breaths before you eat (activate your relaxation response), and focus on the food while you eat it. This has the potential to relax, fuel, and nourish you in ways you didn’t know about.
- Movement (not punishing exercise). I’ve also mentioned this in more detail, but the key here is to not only be mindful and conscious of how you exercise, but to move your body in ways that you find fun or pleasurable. This will, again, help you settle into a relaxation response, get more benefits from your physical activity, and therefore be a happier, healthier, you.
- Take breaks. Schedule ‘mindfulness breaks’ throughout your work day. Use a computer timer, or your phone, to remind you to take a break for a minute. You can use this time to do any number of mindfulness exercises – write down something you are grateful for at that moment, go for a walk and get some fresh air, or do a quick calm.com session.
- Build slowly. This is a lot like the mindful eating tip above. In a rush to consume or create, we put ourselves into a stress response and can miss out on being open to a whole lot of new opportunities or ideas. By concentrating on building our business and products in a slow and mindful way, we create the space for even more inspiration and quality. So, try to let go of multi-tasking and instead focus on just one task, area, or project at a time and really get suck into it.
- Stop the focus on “Getting clients” (or whatever it is you need to ‘get’ for your business to work). When we focus on what we need, instead of what we can give, we not only open the door to panic, but we stop living in the moment and worry about the future instead. This is a creativity killer, as well as a perfect way to stress yourself out. If you can, instead, focus on adding value to people’s live and making sure each and every person you have contact with has the best experience you can give them, you business will grow in a beautiful and organic way, without the panic or grasping. When we grasp, we close our hands, and we all know you catch more with your hands open.
- Be comfortable. Create a ‘slow space’ for your work activities, a space that helps you feel relaxed, comfortable, and inspired, but in no hurry to get to the end of the journey. Treat each task as a special job that lets you stay in this awesome space and try to enjoy the process. This could be as simple as putting up a few pictures or quotes that remind you to ‘go slow’, or you could go as far as rearranging or redecorating your office space. Personally, I have a copy of ‘Desiderata’ on my wall, and that reminds me to slow down and see the beauty in whatever I do.
As I’m sure you know, in your personal and business life, these things both mirror each other and feed into each other. Your practice of mindfulness, wellness, and self-care will spill over into your business, and and vice-versa, setting you up for a slow and steady loop of success. I hope these ideas and practical suggestions help you start, or advance, on your journey to a happy and mindful life and business.
Samantha Russell is the blogger and Eating Psychology Coach in training behind the wellness blog Live the Whole. She writes about all aspects of holistic health and well-being and loves to help people learn about themselves and how they can live a whole life. She has a particular passion for stress-reduction and management and how it can help people achieve their health and life goals.
In the comments:
How have you practiced a little ‘slow’ in you personal or business life this week?