Being a real estate professional can be both exciting and lucrative. But real estate can also be stressful. It’s a hyper-competitive industry, with a lot of rejection. And, because agents are, in essence, their own boss, top performers need to be self-starters with an inordinate amount of discipline.
To be sure, a certain amount of stress is both natural and beneficial. But left unchecked, stress and anxiety can lead to those negative voices in your head that can derail your best efforts to succeed. That’s why, when you talk to top performing agents, most have strategies to maintain their physical, emotional and mental health, knowing that such maintenance is the key to long-term success.
In today’s post we look at the value of practicing mindfulness as part of your daily routine. Our hyper-connected, 24/7 news cycle world demands some level of mindfulness to help us stay centered, calm and focused.
BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS
Before sharing tips on mindfulness practice, it might help to look at a few notable, scientifically proven benefits of maintaining a mindfulness practice:
- A 2013 Massachusetts General Hospital study of patients with debilitating anxiety found that those who were given an 8-week regimen of mindfulness stress reduction techniques showed significantly greater reduction in anxiety than the control group.
- Studies by the American Psychological Association showed that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy helped prevent depression recurrence as effectively as maintenance anti-depression medications.
- A 2010 study by the Consciousness and Cognition Journal showed that mindfulness meditation reduced fatigue, but also improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory and executive functioning.
Here’s the thing about mindfulness practice: it’s not this overly-complicated thing that requires a lot of time or money. The beauty of mindfulness practice is that the simplest things can bring you back to the present moment. Stress and anxiety are often a result of ruminating about the past or worry about the future. So, any practice that helps keep you in the moment will benefit you in the long run. Here are a few such practices:
- Watch your breath: Throughout your day, take short breaks to sit and simply follow your breath. Focus on the sensation of the breath flowing in and out of your nostrils. If you find it difficult to concentrate, try counting your breath. Count to 20. If you get off track go back to one.
- Morning pages: Popularized by Julie Cameron, who wrote “The Artists Way,” the idea is to sit and write 2-3 pages every morning. These are stream-of-consciousness pages, not journaling or diary observations. You just write.
- Concentrate on the flame: Take a break midday and light a candle in a dark room. Then, just sit and concentrate on the flame. Perhaps you can combine this practice with counting your breath.
- Deep breathing: Taking long, deep breaths is a proven way to relax the central nervous system. Use a slow four-count for both the in and out-breaths. You’ll find five minutes of deep breathing to be tremendously relaxing. An extra tip: you can practice deep-breathing if you’re in your car, and especially if you’re stuck in traffic.
- Name that thing: Here’s another simple practice, requiring a few minutes during your day. Just stop and look around you room, or look out your window. Slowly name three things, then two, then one. The key is to really see each thing, concentrate on it before moving on to the next thing.
- Practice gratitude: Whether by a late-night gratitude journal or a few minutes of pre-sleep reflection, focusing on what you are grateful for can be very relaxing.
- Meditation: We saved meditation for last, because everything discussed in the previous six points is a form of meditation. But a dedicated morning meditation program can prove beneficial to your well-being. Start slow and then build your way to 20-30 minutes each day.
Find what practice, or combination of practices, works best for your lifestyle. And do your best to stick to it. In time, you’ll find that mindfulness practice helps to keep you relaxed, focused and energized. But most importantly, it will help keep you in the only moment that counts: THE PRESENT ONE.