Tag Archives: mindfulness training

making difficult decisions

Your Body’s Role in Making Difficult Decisions

making difficult decisions

Don’t let the voice of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”- Steve Jobs

When it comes to making difficult decisions, how do you hear “your inner voice,” that your heart and intuition somehow already know?

Listen to your body’s signals.

Making Difficult Decisions: Gut Feelings

Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, explained the complex process of how our minds and bodies formulate and respond to a hunch for our video series Leadership: A Master Class.  You can read the excerpt here.

There’s wisdom in the body. When you’re self-aware, you get a gut feeling. You have a heartfelt sense. Our gut feelings are messages from the insula and other bottom-up circuits that simplify life decisions for us by guiding our attention toward smarter options. The better we are at reading these messages, the better our intuition.

Yet sometimes, if we have been traumatized, for example, the gut feeling we get can lead us astray. If you’ve been bitten by a dog or hurt by someone who had red hair, when you see a dog or a person with red hair, your gut may say “bad, bad, bad”, and may create a tone of negativity that is based on past traumatic experience. So bodily input doesn’t always mean you should respond to it directly. You should analyze it.

Making Difficult Decisions: Somatic Markers

Somatic marker is neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s term for the sensation in our body that tells us when a choice feels wrong or right. This bottom-up circuitry telegraphs its conclusions through our gut feelings, often long before the top-down circuits come to a more reasoned conclusion. The ventromedial prefrontal area, a key part of this circuitry, guides our decision making when we face life’s most complex decisions, like who to marry or whether to buy a house. Such choices can’t be made by a cold, rational analysis. Instead we do better to simulate what it would feel like to choose A versus B. This brain area operates as that inner rudder.

Making Difficult Decisions: Sensing

Erica Ariel Fox spoke with Daniel Goleman in his Leadership: A Master Class video series about “direct knowing”: I know this, but I don’t know how I know it. I didn’t read it in a book. Nobody told it to me. I didn’t have an Excel spreadsheet that laid it out for me. Nonetheless, I know it. She argues that we have a set of skills that coaches and leaders who work with teams might call “reading the room.” Others call it attunement or discernment. It’s not data processing and thin-slicing, and it’s also not having an emotional evaluation of decisions. It’s a sensing. When she works with a team in crisis, she recognizes that tuning in to the group’s feelings and emotions helps her ask the right questions about what’s happening.

Making Difficult Decisions: Use Your Body

When we’re under pressure, we become narrow minded and tense. We aren’t able to tap into our body signals. But we also forget to use our body to help us refocus. Taking a time out also allows us to hone our self-management skills. Paying attention to the mental and physical signs and experiences that occur during stressful situations gives you an opportunity to practice composure.

Breathing is often abandoned or compromised when anxiety arises. A few conscious deep breaths will oxygenate your brain and improve the clarity of your thinking. Here is a simple exercise you can do: Breathe in and count one… then breath out and count one. Breathe in and count two… then breathe out count two. Breathe in and count three… then breathe out. Keep repeating this in a steady rhythm.

To ground yourself further during the process, place your hands on your abdomen or chest and observe the sensation of your abdomen or chest rising and settling. Learn to relax in the experience.

Master the Art of Making Difficult Decisions

making difficult decisions

Registration is open for the Mindful Leadership Breakthrough System, a live webcast series with executive coach and senior meditation instructor, Dawa Tarchin Phillips. The program is designed to help executives and leadership development professionals apply mindfulness principles to overcome common internal and external barriers to presence, productivity and performance.

build emotional intelligence

Develop Emotional Intelligence with Mindfulness

develop emotional intelligence

Develop Emotional Intelligence with Mindfulness Practices

Leaders, trainers and executive coaches can develop emotional intelligence in themselves and others with mindfulness practices. Dawa Tarchin Phillips describes how in this video clip.

Develop Emotional Intelligence: Start with Self-Management

Mindfulness as a tool for self-management is a topic Phillips explores in his article, “Take the Lead in Reducing Workplace Stress.” He suggests five steps for using mindfulness to manage yourself when you’re under stress.

Notice your reaction to a specific “trigger” situation

What caused that rush of adrenaline or stress? What conditions led to that moment? Recognizing the triggers of stress can help you prepare to deal with them more effectively the next time they arise.

First become aware, then manage

Pay attention to how you feel physically and emotionally when you are in a stressful situation. The first step to managing your self is to be aware of yourself and your reactions.

Stay in the moment

Pay attention to whatever is happening in the moment rather than rehashing stressful situations from the past. If the moment presents a problem, focus on finding creative solutions to that problem.

Learn to meditate

Meditation helps calm the mind and increases the ability to focus. It also helps you be able to move between mental tasks more deliberately and with greater ease.

Breathe

Taking a few deep breaths during a stressful situation will bring oxygen to your brain and clarify your thinking. Try this: Breathe in and count one…then breathe out and count one. Breathe in and count two…then breathe out and count two. Breathe in and count three…then breathe out. Repeat. If you can, place your hands on your abdomen or chest to feel the rise and settling of each breath.

Develop Emotional Intelligence with Mindfulness

Gain insight into ways you can develop emotional intelligence in your organization through self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and relationship management. Dawa Tarchin Phillips will discuss each of these areas further in his upcoming webcast series, Mindful Leadership Breakthrough System.

The live webcast series is developed and hosted by Phillips, a mindful leadership expert, author, coach and classically trained senior meditation teacher. His business acumen and deep understanding of meditation techniques and mind training allow him to deliver a unique coaching program to address challenges facing 21st century leaders. Each webcast includes a Q&A with Phillips.

Develop emotional intelligence through mindfulness with these live webcasts:

Dealing with Workplace Stress: How it Impacts Performance, Culture and the Bottom Line

The Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence Connection

Patience in Business: How to Overcome Doubts, Worry and Negativity

Beyond Habit: How to Change Habits that Limit Leaders

Managing Change: First, Understand and Manage Yourself

Dealing with Failure and Setbacks Mindfully: How to Move Through Struggles like a True Champion

Mindful Decision Making Under Pressure: Using the Power of Presence to Achieve Success from the Inside Out

Ep 162: Thriving on Change: Improving natural abilities for focus and attention

Welcome to the More Than Sound podcast. 

ThrivingOnChange-Square

In this episode…

Daniel Goleman talks with Elad Levinson, leadership coach and organizational consultant, about how mindfulness training can help leaders improve on their natural abilities for focus and attention.

This conversation is an excerpt from Thriving on Change: The Evolving Leader’s Toolkit, a Praxis You online course available at morethansound.net that teaches leaders how to respond expertly to uncertainty and conflict in their work.

Effective leaders are focused leaders.

“If you want to be focused, if you want to be effective, you can’t just let any old whim or whatever that comes along,” said Daniel Goleman. “You need to make some choices.  And the choices are internal. And in order to make that choice, you need to know what’s going on inside me now. Is this where I want to be or can I be somewhere better? That act is called mindfulness. Noticing what’s going on within you and using that information to manage yourself better, because self-management starts with self-awareness. And mindfulness is the toolkit for that.” 

About Thriving on Change: The Evolving Leader’s Toolkit

Thriving on Change integrates the necessary proven-effective skills, tools, and practices to ensure leaders expertly respond to uncertainty, conflict, and inevitable distraction. Unlike other leadership development courses, this program is delivered in bite-size chunks, designed to enlist all of your learning faculties. And because we all learn differently, each course offers a balance of:

  • video
  • audio
  • animation
  • self-assessments
  • discussion forums
  • downloadable practices
  • personal reflection
  • reading on your own time.

 

develop a healthy mind

How to Help Children Develop a Healthy Mind

develop a healthy mind

A key component to helping children develop a healthy mind is teaching them self-awareness and empathy.

Like learning any new skill, these two kinds of awareness can be developed through regular practice. We know from modern neuroscience research that to establish new connections in the brain, systematic practice is essential. Unfortunately, traditional curricula often ignore these topics, which are building blocks for all other types of learning.

If children are unable to exercise cognitive control and to pay attention, they won’t be able to learn – or worse, manage their emotions. Starting in preschool, we can introduce very simple exercises to cultivate these qualities of attention.

Notice a Sound

For example, here’s an exercise that can be done with four- and five-year-old children. Ring a bell that lasts for 15 seconds. Ask the children to pay very, very close attention to the sound and, as soon as they no longer hear it, to raise their hand. What happens in a class of 25 children during the time the bell is sounded? There’s a dramatic stillness. Kids will just start to raise their hand. They love this exercise.

develop a healthy mind

Notice a Sensation

Other exercises have children pay attention to internal bodily states. Practicing this helps cultivate attention and empathy, because empathy very much involves understanding how your own body is responding.

Tania Singer, a neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute, studies empathy. Tania says that when you experience empathy, systems within your own brain are automatically attuning to the emotional or internal state of another person – and duplicating that in yourself. In order to know how the other person feels you actually are attuning to yourself using the insula as a principal pathway. Those changes can occur consciously or non-consciously. To take full advantage of the changes you must become aware of them.

Notice Your Breath

How can we strengthen the brain circuitry, the prefrontal circuitry or insula circuitry, in children for this kind of awareness? Practice attention training. Another simple exercise for children is to have them practice paying attention to their breathing. While the children are lying on the floor, have each child place a little stone or stuffed animal on her or his belly. Ask the children to observe the object rising and falling with each breath cycle. Not only is this extremely relaxing, it’s also something that helps them focus their attention on their internal bodily sensations.

 

Additional Resources

Develop a Healthy Mind: How Focus Impacts Brain Function

develop a healthy mind

The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education

triple focus

Focus Back-to-School Bundle

back to school bundle

Focus for Kids: Enhancing Concentration, Caring and Calm

focus for kids

Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth

bridging the hearts and minds of youth

Ep 155: Surya Das – Role of Mindfulness in your Training

Welcome to the More Than Sound podcast. 

Lama Surya Das Offers an Invocation + His definition of Mindfulness

The Role of Mindfulness in your Training?

Hanuman Goleman asked leaders who are shaping the mindfulness movement to offer a more nuanced survey of the mindfulness landscape.

Lama Surya Das is one of the foremost meditation teachers and scholars of Western Buddhism, and one of the main interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism in the West. He’s the author of 13 books, including Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Modern World, and most recently Buddha Standard Time.

Mindfulness was the foundation of Surya Das’s meditation background. And in this second conversation, he outlines his versions of the six kinds of Tibetan mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness podcast

The What is Mindfulness? podcast series features new and exclusive interviews from individuals with decades of experience in teaching and studying mindfulness. The goal is to offer answers to questions about the practice from an array of perspectives and backgrounds.

About What is Mindfulness podcast

Contributors to the podcast series include:

More Podcasts with Surya Das

What is Mindfulness?

The Relationship Between Meditation and Mindfulness

Hidden Dangers in Growing Popularity of Mindfulness (coming soon)

Your vs Popular Definition of Mindfulness (coming soon)

The Connection Between Mindfulness and Action (coming soon)