Here's One Must Have Breathing Exercise For Every Tradie's Toolkit
Pip Seldon, The Healthy Tradie Project
Tradies in hi-vis, hard hats and boots practicing mindfulness – doesn’t sound like your typical construction site, but with high risk activities and constant pressure to perform, the construction site is one of the most important places for mindfulness.
I’ve spent 8 years in the construction industry. I’ve lived with the long hours and I understand first-hand the stress and pressure that comes with the job.
Our lives seem to get busier every day and on any construction site it’s easy to get caught up in what we think we must get done. Thoughts and feelings from the past and worries about what needs to be done tomorrow or into the future can easily become constant distractions. And whilst there is nothing wrong with thinking about the past or planning for the future, the problem is when the mind is in control of you, instead of you being the one in control of your mind.
For tradies, early starts and long days on site mean spending 20 minutes sitting or lying down to do a body scan meditation can be quite challenging. Our Tradie focused ‘Tools Down & Breathe’ practice takes just 3 minutes and can be done anywhere at any time, even on a construction site!
Here’s how it works:
- Step 1 (1 minute): Ask yourself the question, “How am I doing right now?” Focus your attention on your inner perception, noticing what thoughts, feelings and physical sensations you are experiencing. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling right here, right now. You can even tell yourself that it’s okay to feel what you are feeling. This questioning has you step outside the ‘doing mode’ for a moment. It disrupts habitual patterns and introduces awareness of the current experience.
- Step 2 (1 minute): Directing your attention away from thinking, focus your full attention on your breath. The breath becomes your anchor creating a single focus point.
- Step 3 (1 minute): Allow your attention to expand to the rest of your body. Feel how your breath and body interact. Notice how your breath moves your body, expanding your chest as you inhale and how with each out-breath it contracts.
This 3 minute breathing space creates awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations in the body, encouraging you to experience what is happening in the present moment.
To start with, try doing this exercise at three set times a day – in the morning when you wake up, after smoko or lunch and again before bed. Schedule time in your calendar for YOU and your own breathing space! When the exercise becomes habit, use it not only at your pre-determined times, but also when you feel you need it, like if you are feeling worried, stressed or when the pressure is on to meet that program deadline.
Living in the present moment is important. It’s also okay to visit the past or plan for the future, but when you need to do so, be sure to do it with total clarity and purpose.
Pip Seldon is a Construction Project Manager, Health & Nutrition Coach, Yoga Instructor, Essential Oils Wellness Advocate, Speaker and founder of the Healthy Tradie Project. Her transformational journey began in 2009 after the loss of her eldest brother, a carpenter, to suicide. Her mission through the Healthy Tradie Project is "to support tradies in living healthier, happier lives with movement, mindfulness and real whole food".
You can connect with her on Facebook & Instagram @thehealthytradieproject.
If you're interested in learning more about how to bring mindfulness into your workplace, find out more about Smiling Mind's workplace workshops and wellbeing programs here.