The first time I heard the word equanimity was in a meditation session. It piqued my interest. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this word or referenced it before.
Here is a simple definition,
mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.
Example: “she accepted both the good and the bad with equanimity”
Equanimity and Non-judgment
When we walk into a meeting or for now join a video conferencing meeting with stakeholders.
Being new in the team, I don’t know much about the past and come with the least bias.
Some meetings can be fun, joyful and pleasant, some unpleasant or simply neutral. I do wonder why we do not have every meeting as pleasant or fun. Is it the nature of the meeting or is it just how we have been doing things in the past?
Interesting concept to explore further let’s Dive In
- Is it the nature of stress that makes work what it is or is there something more?
- Can we uncover how our work day can be less stressful and identify patterns that bring anxiety and diminish the root cause if possible?
- Does multitasking add to anxiety or help meet the constant day-to-day needs?
Equanimity and Mindfulness
In the research paper: Moving beyond Mindfulness: Defining Equanimity as an Outcome Measure in Meditation and Contemplative Research, there are parallel comparisons of equanimity and mindfulness.
Let’s break down mindfulness:
- on purpose = with intention, fully commit
- in the present moment = being in the Here and Now, fully present
- non-judgmental = remove bias and accept as-is
There’s something powerful about mindfulness. The first time I experienced it was about a year ago when I was burned out and probably stressed to the peak, and diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. It wasn’t the circumstances but it was how I was responding to the events and once I realized that, then being fully present became more natural.
I even joked with my friends about how I started noticing the birds chirping, the squirrels and the bunnies on my morning walks in Raleigh, and they would ask if I never saw them in San Francisco. Now, I was being in the present moment, and not just walk and think about what I need to do next or worry about the past.
Equanimity and Compassion
Stress and anxiety triggers can be measured by compassion and equanimity. Trigger is a moment in time if we can let it be and let it pass then we will be forever grateful for that moment and the trigger
In the Daily Stoic Journal, by Ryan Holiday, this quote sums it up beautifully:
Marcus borrows this wonderful metaphor from Heraclitus, who said,
“No man steps in the same river twice.” Because the river has changed, and so has the man.
Life is in a constant state of change. And so are we.
- To get upset by things is to wrongly assume that they will last.
- To kick ourselves or blame others is grabbing at the wind.
- To resent change is to wrongly assume that you have a choice in the matter.
Everything is a change. Embrace it. Flow with it.
The Butterfly Effect
I’m always fascinated by butterflies and I even have butterfly designs on my wall. There’s something about a butterfly that takes me back to beautiful memories.
The butterfly effect ideology gives me confidence that a small change can result in large consequences.
We may not see the end result but we can be the start of a new beginning. WE can uncover the WHY of stress and anxiety and know that we are not okay with how things are in the modern workplace.
I’ve heard folks who have left the corporate world because of the stress and anxiety involved in the constant demands and expectations. Maybe it’s time to change that and to bring mindfulness at work one step at a time. And bring diversity, inclusion and belonging into the forefront for real.
In the Love for Imperfect Things, Haemin Sunim shares two key ideas:
Pain and Suffering is the seed of compassion.
- When you experience pain and suffering then you can empathize with true compassion for those who are experiencing the same.
- Without fear of being judged, just listen with empathy and be there. Sometimes, silence is all they need.
Words can be the seed of reality.
- When you share positive words to someone you can make their day.
- I’ve had the fortune of amazing folks send notes and make me feel special and precious.
- So, go ahead and send someone that needs a pick-me-up today:
“I’m just thinking of you. I wish you well. You can do anything that you put your mind and heart to.”
Let Equanimity be the Golden Rule, where we can be our true selves, show empathy and compassion, and know others will do the same without any judgment.
Here are a few things that have helped me do set my boundaries with Stress and Anxiety, and practice Equanimity at heart:
- I set a discipline for my work schedule(8am-4pm) and availability. Transparency with an open calendar has helped during work from home.
- I need time to prepare and I’m not good at thinking on my feet or reacting to immediate requests. Now, I take the time to be proactive, follow-up and give time in advance for my team to do what is necessary.
- I prefer not to rush and savor my morning breakfast. So, I wake up before 6am so I can get ready to start my day at 8am. The slow pace has been very helpful to not let anxiety creep in.
- I noticed the past two weeks had become stressful with changes at work and old patterns were creeping in. So, I started a 5 minute mindfulness practice (Wise at Work) every day at 7:55 a.m. since Wednesday and shared with folks to bring accountability for me to show up. It has been a blessing to stay grounded and be fully present for my team.
- It was important to understand how I and my team are doing and so we embraced Friday Pulse for team happiness, share our celebrations, frustrations and find solutions together.
- One of our team members is leading the Global Fitness Challenge. This will help make sure that I go for a walk/exercise in this beautiful spring. I’m looking forward to start on Monday as I haven’t been good with my walks in the past 2 weeks and have been using work or weather as an excuse.
- I stopped contributing posts to reduce impact of the information overload and noise on social media. This helped me to focus on deep work and have more time to read books. No TV/news either has helped to stay calm and hopeful.
Cheers to each one of you for joining this change, that we want to see in the world!
Equanimity is our Golden Rule! It’s now or never.