Starting a meeting - one minute of silence is a great way to land, focus your thoughts, and connect to each other and the task at hand. It's not always easy reaching a calm state of mind when eg. you’ve just come from a high-stakes meeting, going to one, or have an important presentation after the minute of silence ends.
Here are 3 ways or techniques you can use to get to that calm place in a minute where you feel ready and assured that everything will be okay.
1. Focus on your breath
This is a great time to open your mindfulness toolkit and pick a favorite breathing technique that will calm the nervous system and relax the body—leaving you more alert, agile and at ease when the minute is over.
We’ve included a video with this post that teaches you a relaxation breath that will help you make the most of your minute of silence no matter what you’re coming from or going into. This technique is simple, subtle and very portable-you can practice it anytime and anywhere -even when you aren’t in a designated minute of silence.
Breathe in - to the count of four.
Hold your breath for a moment.
Breathe out - to the count of eight.
As we know, the more we practice something, the better the body gets at doing it. In fact, according to neuroscientist Dr. Joe Dispenza, habits are when the body knows how to do something better than the brain.
This breath pattern is specifically designed to bring your body out of a stress response and into a resting state, so practice whenever you think about it! Your brain will begin to shift and you may start to notice a change in your overall stress levels-making the minute of silence a welcome friend that will surely calm you.
This technique is also great to practice when sitting in traffic, traveling, or before rising from or going to bed. It is also wonderful to employ after a stressful interaction or experience that leaves you feeling agitated or off-center.
2. Anchor yourself
Other techniques to anchor yourself in the present moment when your mind wanders during the moment of silence, which it most likely will, could be scanning your body from the top of your head to your feet touching the floor.
Start by taking a few deep breaths, paying attention to your breath as it goes in and out. Slowly scan your body from head to toe, bringing your attention to each area of your body (www.stopbreathethink.com/body-scan):
Start with the top of your head
Pay attention to your face, forehead, eyes, mouth and jaw
And now to the neck and shoulders
Feel your upper arms, forearms, wrists, and hands
Take note of any sensations you may feel, without trying to change anything.
Now to the torso, the chest and upper back
Be aware of your heartbeat and your breathing.
Pay attention to your stomach and lower back.
Observe any thoughts that may be running through your mind, and let them go, bringing your attention back to your body
Pay attention to your hips, thighs and knees.
Down to the shins, calves, ankles and feet touching the floor.
Become aware of your body as a whole
Finally bring your attention back to your natural breath
3. Just smile
Spend a moment just smiling. Connecting with a smile as your go-to choice can have a huge impact, both on your own mood and on your success in the meeting as well. Your brain doesn't know the difference between a real and a fake smile, so fake it til you make it.Read more in this NBC News article about the benefits of a smile
A minute of silence is a great time to invest in your mental well-being by practicing mindful techniques. Not only will you have something specific to do with the time, but also, you will build a tool that you can use in your life to re-connect with the calm, innovative and kind colleague you want to be.