In the cutthroat world of leadership, it's easy to tip the scale and find yourself embroiled in a cycle of never-ending stress, sleepless nights, and barely-there work-life balance. While cognitive approaches have their merits, it's crucial not to neglect the body's wisdom.
That's where somatic coaching comes in—a holistic approach that taps into the mind-body connection to bring you back to equilibrium. As a seasoned coach with experience in neuroscience, NLP, and somatic and ontological coaching, I've found somatic practices to be extraordinarily effective. Let's dive into how somatic strategies can serve you in your leadership journey.
Why Somatic Practices?
The word 'somatic' comes from the Greek word 'soma,' meaning 'body.' Unlike other coaching styles, which often focus purely on cognitive aspects or external behaviours, somatic coaching emphasises the importance of the body-mind connection. Stress, tension, and burnout don't just affect your mind; they have a tangible impact on your body as well.
Five Somatic Practices for Achieving Balance
1. Grounding Exercises
Grounding exercises can help you connect to the present moment, especially when stress starts to overwhelm you. A straightforward practice involves planting your feet firmly on the ground, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breath. Feel the energy coming up through the soles of your feet and filling your body with a renewed sense of stability and calm.
2. Body Scanning
Regular body scanning can offer insights into where you're holding tension or stress. Close your eyes and mentally scan your body from head to toe, paying attention to any areas of tightness or discomfort. Acknowledge these areas and breathe into them, visualising the tension melting away with each exhale.
3. Somatic Awareness Journaling
Keeping a somatic journal can help you become more aware of your physical sensations throughout the day, and how they relate to your emotional state. Make it a habit to jot down how your body feels during different tasks or in response to stressful situations. You'll begin to notice patterns and can work on addressing the root cause of any physical discomfort.
4. Conscious Breathing
It's astonishing how transformative conscious breathing can be. Whether you opt for a specific method like the 4-7-8 technique or simply focus on deep belly breathing, you'll find that a few minutes of intentional breathing can reset your nervous system and offer you a fresh perspective.
5. Mindful Movement
Whether it's a simple stretch, a walk in nature, or a more formal practice like yoga or Tai Chi, incorporating mindful movement into your day can do wonders for your mental clarity and overall well-being. The goal isn't just to move, but to be fully present in your body as you do so.
As a leader, you might be thinking, "When will I find the time?" The beauty of these practices is that they can be seamlessly incorporated into your day. Ground yourself before a critical meeting, perform a quick body scan during a moment of downtime, or engage in conscious breathing to reset during a stressful day. Trust me, as someone who's been through burnout and discovered the transformative power of somatic practices, the benefits far outweigh the time investment.
The demands of leadership often pull you in multiple directions, making it all too easy to lose sight of your own well-being. However, these somatic practices offer a practical yet profound way to realign with your inner equilibrium. It's time to prioritise your holistic well-being, not just for your sake but also for the health and productivity of your organisation.
So, are you ready to embrace the power of your body and mind in harmony? I can assure you, once you start, there's no turning back.