Last year Workfront's awesome SVP of People of Culture, Laura Butler, kicked off a presentation by asking us all to do a breathing exercise. This was a pivotal moment in my work life. I've been starting my mornings with mediation and deep breaths for several years now, but somehow it hadn't occurred to me to incorporate it into my day job!
Since that day I began starting all team meetings with a few deep breaths to center us. It helps everyone leave behind the stress they just brought with them into the meeting and truly settle in and focus. A few times we've even ended a meeting with one more breathing exercise if our topic or conversation was especially difficult.
An easy way to lead a breathing exercise for a group (or heck, just do your own solo practice), is to use an animated GIF. I often invite everyone to turn off their camera then I verbally follow along with the animated GIF so they can close their eyes if they wish. We usually do 3-5 breaths and that seems to do the trick.
I'm attaching a PPT of 5 different GIFs that I've used at various times. Some are faster, some are slower, so you'll want to experiment with the one(s) that are just right for you, Goldilocks. If none of these strike your fancy, there are a ton more of these online - just search for "animated breath GIF".
Now, go put both feet on the floor. Close your eyes and take 3 deliberate breaths before you leave this post. Trust me.
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I really like this idea, and I have to say, I've been in a meeting where Heather had us all breathe at the beginning and it definitely helped!
The first time this happened in the meeting how did you and the others take it? Was everyone on board?
Yes, everyone was on board! She set it up nicely, gave us options to close our eyes, not close our eyes, and honestly it was super short, so it wasn't like it distracted from the purpose of the meeting at all. I think the key would be to set it up ahead of showing the gifs so that people know what you're doing. I ended up really liking it.