Solos always need tools to get ahead. The most obvious tool to help you do that is actually inside your head. You just need some training to understand it, and use it to your best advantage. The training is mindfulness training.
Every few days another article on the benefits of mindfulness hits the news. In August we learned that mindfulness can decrease anxiety and help reduce relapse for clinical depression, in addition to lowering instances of doctor visits. At Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, researchers conducting a hypertension trial on non-medicated adults found that with mindfulness training, “substantial and statistically significant reductions [occurred] in the primary outcomes [including] a 4.8-mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and a 1.9-mm Hg reduction in diastolic blood pressure (DBP).” In other words, mindfulness lowers your blood pressure. And it turns out mindfulness is an effective coping mechanism for teens struggling with early-life traumas as well. (Solos don’t usually act like teenagers but it’s really helpful to know how to deal with the lawyers out there who do.)
But the real news is this: you don’t have to suffer from anxiety, depression, high blood pressure or adolescence to reap the benefits of mindfulness. Congressman Tim Ryan is bringing mindfulness to Washington because he finds that it helps him handle the pressures of working in the U.S. Capitol – which must make an ordinary day as a solo seem like a piece of cake. Even Google is teaching meditation to its employees, and a lot of other companies are getting in line. Soon, those companies will be asking if you have a mindfulness practice before they’ll hire you.
But even if they don’t ask, it’s pretty easy to see how a mindfulness practice is essential to soloing. Whether you have wellness goals that are at odds with career projections, or you need more mental clarity to be able to handle the volume and stress, or you just want a more positive, healthy attitude, this is a tool you can use.
And the great news is, mindfulness isn’t new age any more. In fact, practicing mindfulness is about coming of age and realizing how important it is to understand and support your (legal) mind. In a much-talked about study, researchers in a randomized controlled investigation of GRE-takers found that a short mindfulness training “improved both reading-comprehension scores and working memory capacity while simultaneously reducing the occurrence of distracting thoughts,” suggesting that cultivating mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with wide-reaching consequences.” Mindfulness is a practical, simple tool that you can use to do better work, get better quality of life, and improve you physical and mental wellbeing.
Mindfulness may be 2500 years old, but studies suggest that it results in more focus, better memory, lower blood pressure, and other important benefits. For solos it’s a no-brainer if your goal is to get ahead and still have a smart, sane practice.
All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.