I don’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned here that meditation and mindfulness are a big part of my life.

In fact, I credit mindfulness for helping me through my fears when I was laid off in 2014. It was vital in keeping me from quitting when I ran into obstacles starting a new business. And it has been a critical tool in my toolbelt for dealing with loss, grief, as well as depression and anxiety.

Recently, I completed an intensive course to become a mindfulness instructor under the Unified Mindfulness system – a secular approach to mediation based on the teachings of Shinzen Young.

I learned A LOT and I’m excited to share how mindfulness strategies can help us through the inevitable ups and downs of a job search. Truth is, I’ve been integrating much of this into my work as a career coach for years.

The great thing about mindfulness is it’s not just about sitting lotus-style on a cushion in complete silence. Some of my favorite strategies can be brought right into the moment when we need them. So, I thought I would introduce you to a mindset “hack” to try in the face of some common job hunting challenges.

Smile Practice

This practice is great for when you are feeling discouraged. Maybe you just got another rejection email. Or maybe you’re playing a waiting game on several jobs and there’s nothing more to do. Or perhaps you’re frustrated and angry because nothing seems to be working.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Find a comfortable position where you can be alert.
  • You can gently close your eyes, or have a soft, unfocused gaze.
  • Now imagine a big smile in your mind’s eye. It’s spreading across your mental screen, as though from one ear to the other.
  • See the smile, and feel it behind your eyes and over to your ears.
  • Allow the smile to spread down your face, and feel your eyes and lips turn up.
  • Allow the smile to move into your neck, picture it there, and watch it move across your collarbone and shoulder blades and down your arms.
  • Continue to watch the smile as it moves down your chest and back, through your belly and hips, and down your legs to your feet.
  • As the smile sits in your body, notice how you feel. If there is pleasantness, soak into it. If something is unpleasant, just come back up to your face and hold the smile there for a few moments.

Why this works: Scientific experiments have proven that even when we “force” a smile, the body is wired to release pleasant hormones. If we allow that, we can remind ourselves that even in the midst of disappointment and frustration, we have the power to find a bit of happiness, regardless of circumstances.

If you practice this regularly, you’ll build a new muscle that will be there for you when you need it!

Cheers to Your Career!

(Want to know more about meditation and mindfulness? Check out this introduction to practice.)

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