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Staring a fresh week with Mindfulness

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

A few years back, I had the opportunity to join the SIY - Search Inside Yourself training, created by an employee at Google. This training was an opportunity I had while working in Chicago in an HR position, with some difficult colleagues, challenging work, and stressful deadlines. So difficult in fact, my colleagues weren't always aware of the tears going on behind closed doors.

While working through this training, I had the chance to talk to many of our associates about their personal and work struggles, some struggles I never would have known or even thought to have asked about, if not for this training. As we worked through some of the techniques, trainings, and mindfulness guides, I remembered thinking, "Man I can use these tools outside of this job and in my day to day life even more!"

One of my favorite trainings involved learning how to take a mindful walk. Now, mind you, the first time I tried this I was on top of a Chicago building in the business loop with police sirens, horns honking and trains flying by. Having a trainer/coach tell me to drown out all these distractions was quite difficult. Fortunately, the building had a foe grass pad, so I took my shoes off and focused on the not so real grass feeling on my feet (after sitting in stinky/sweaty heels for four hours this actually felt great.) The two women or coaches who were leading the training talked about mindful walking being something you can do when everything just feels like it's too much. You can walk as slow or as fast as it makes sense for you, and focus on the way your breath feels, and the sounds around are those affecting you, or not affecting you? After a few minutes of really getting distracted by sirens, I finally noticed all I could think about was the way my warm breath felt on my already sweaty upper lip. I was able to drown out the sounds, and the view or my colleagues doing the same practice, and actually mindfully walk! Honestly, I was shocked. I thought it was such an odd idea at first, but the more I tried it, the more I fell in love.

The remaining year or so that my spouse and I lived in Chicago, I remember using that walk when I was alone with my dog, drowning out the passer byers, or fire trucks...or the train ding as it pulled into the stop. I used it when I was stressed at work, and even sometimes just taking small steps in my office to calm myself down after a tough meeting.

One of my favorite spots to walk to in Chicago when I needed a break!

YAY, something is working!

I found in time...

Mindfulness can be used in many different forms:

  • Walking (this one is one of my favorites)

  • Breathing - this is similar to meditation, but I'd say just a step below

  • Speaking/Listening - I'll touch on these another day, there is SO much to be said here

After going through this training, I learned not only do I have control over my emotions throughout the day, but I have this tool I can use when things start to get overwhelming. Whether that's an afternoon walk after a stressful/frustrating meeting, or a walk in the park after chasing down the kiddos, it has to be formatted for YOU!

Personally, pairing my mindful walks with some of my favorite music or podcast, and slowing down just a touch is what works for me. Some of you might prefer to walk vigorously, this is all up to you. Focus on your breathing and cancel out those distractions around you.

So, give it a go. Next time you’re feeling stressed or need a break, step away from that TEAMs meeting, or argument with your kid, and go on a #Mindfullwalk because, #Youdecide! You are the only one that can change your circumstances, that can start with just some deep breaths and mindfulness.

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