Just last week I was on a call for a non-profit I started a few years ago with a team of passionate dedicated leaders. One of our team-mates (let’s call her Ann) came to the call rather stressed out and agitated. She had a lot more on her plate than she had anticipated. She was anxious about meeting a team deadline. She was frustrated about the team’s progress. As she voiced her concerns, I noticed myself tensing up in my body. Other people were starting to get defensive and agitated. Our usual team energy of collaboration now felt chaotic. Our call ended up being less productive than we would have liked. Sound like a meeting you’ve been in?
As human beings our emotions are contagious. We have mirror neurons in our brains which enable us to have empathy (to feel what others are feeling) but also unconsciously and unintentionally mimic others’ emotions. Afterwards, I called Ann to share the impact of her frustration and anxiety on me and on the call outcomes. Ann had been completely unaware of both her own emotion and its impact on the team call.
This week’s mindful practice is to notice your emotions and their impact on others. To practice this, you can put a timer on your phone two times a day and with the chime simply take three deep breaths and ask yourself “What am I feeling now?”. Try to name the emotion without any judgment. If it’s a difficult emotion, offer yourself self-compassion. When in a meeting, notice the impact of your emotions or those of others on the group. You can also try a “Calm The Mind and Release Stress” practice here. to center yourself before a stressful meeting. Over time the practice of mindfulness will help you be in touch with your emotions and those of others so you can be more emotionally intelligent in challenging times.
Wishing you a mindful week!
P.S. One-Minute Mindfulness are short reads that give you a practice a week so you can experience being mindful in the activities you’re already doing. If you’d like to learn and create mindfulness habits with teammates and friends, please share this link to sign up.
P.P.S. I would love for you to share your experience or questions from this practice in the comments below.