As a clinical psychologist and former yoga teacher who works with driven business people, I want to clarify a common myth that mindfulness is mainly about relaxation and “being present”. Relaxation and feeling fully present are certainly positive components of mindfulness practice, but mindfulness can also be used to increase your insight and awareness around one of your most valuable business assets: your thoughts. By learning to observe our thoughts without reacting to them, we can save ourselves considerable time, money, and energy by choosing to “follow through” only on the thoughts that are truly in service of what we actually want in any given situation. I know this sounds abstract, so here are some real-life examples of how growing your “mindfulness muscles” will help you in day-to-day life:
Posts about Mindfulness:
A Surefire Way to Avoid Catching a Cold
AKA How to Find Your Drinking Sweet Spot
Would you date a man who dressed a bit off-trend? How about one who was shorter than you? A bald man?
In an ideal world, all of the people in your life would be helpful resources, willingly by your side to provide support, add joy, and keep you balanced. But let’s face it: We don’t live in an ideal world (if we did, I’d probably be out of a job!). Most of us will encounter at least one person in our day-to-day at some point in our lives who does the opposite. Someone who drains your energy, undermines you, puts you down. I’ve recently been asked to speak about the topic of “toxic people” by FOX5 here in New York, and while “toxic people” isn’t a clinical term… I think I sort of knew what they meant. Toxic people chip away at your mental health and overall wellbeing, and the longer they’re in your life, the more damaging their emotional footprint can be.
In May 2012, I was finishing my final licensing hours after six long years of full-time doctoral training. It was such a relief to be eligible for a good salary with benefits after all those years of squeaking by on student loans and credit cards. And so deciding to leave that full-time job to focus exclusively on my own practice was daunting, to say the least. I was terrified to leave the security of a stable job and regular paycheck, but I knew I had to if I were ever to realize my ultimate goal of building a private practice.
As a yoga teacher-turned-psychologist, I’ve always been amazed at the overlap between psychology and yoga, specifically in mindfulness and in silence. One yogic practice that I find fantastic as a psychologist is intentional and compassionate silence. Whether you are in a relationship or currently single and living alone, you might feel some sort of pressure to always answer the phone, constantly make small talk with a partner, or always have “something interesting” to say. Intentional silence is a great way to combat this pressure, and can just be a fun way to deepen your relationships and play around with nonverbal communication!