7 Mindfulness Practices For Your Funeral Business

Mindfulness Practices For Funeral Professionals

Mindfulness is a hot topic just about everywhere you look these days.

We’ve all fell victim to letting stress take control of our day…and mindfulness is a great tool to incorporate into your workplace, your funeral business and even your services, arrangement process and communication with your families.

Before we go over the ways to incorporate mindfulness into your funeral home, let’s talk about what mindfulness actually is.


What is Mindfulness?

According to Mindfulness.org, mindfulness can be defined as:

The basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.


The 7 Principles of Mindfulness

It’s hard to understand exactly what mindfulness can look like, when we just consider the definition. So let’s also look at the 7 principles of mindfulness, according to mindfulness teacher Kabat Zinn:

1. Non-judging. Be an impartial witness to your own experience. Become aware of the constant stream of judging and reacting to inner and outer experience.

2. Patience. A form of wisdom, patience demonstrates that we accept the fact that things sometimes unfold in their own time. Allow for this.

3. Beginner’s Mind. Remaining open and curious allows us to be receptive to new possibilities and prevents us from getting stuck in the rut of our own expertise.

4. Trust. Develop a basic trust with yourself and your feelings. Know it’s okay to make mistakes.

5. Non-Striving. The goal is to be with yourself right here, right now. Pay attention to what is unfolding without trying to change anything.

6. Acceptance. See things as they are. This sets the stage for acting appropriately in your life no matter what is happening.

7. Letting Go. When we pay attention to our inner experience, we discover there are certain thoughts, emotions and situations the mind wants to hold onto. Let your experience be what it is right now.

Even with these principles, mindfulness still sounds pretty general right? But what does it actually look like? And how can you practice it? A lot of mindfulness practices focus on meditation, breathing, movement, flow-state based practices, communication, and relationships. 

While you may not be meditating with your client families, you can offer them spaces to practice mindfulness at a time they need it most. Here are some ideas below to incorporate mindfulness into everything you do at your funeral home.


7 Practices to Bring Mindfulness into Your Funeral Home

1. Begin every meeting with a deep breath (or 2 or 3).

Try this with every meeting you have. Before you go into anything, simply take 15 seconds to take 3 deep breaths. Count to 5 for your inhale and exhale. Notice how you feel more present after just 3 breaths. 

2. Invite your families to join you in taking deep breaths

Usually families come to you in distress, but taking a few deep breaths might be the only time they felt okay and safe in the entire day. It might sound cheesy at first, but it truly works.

3. Pause before responding 

Cheryl Amyx from Inc couldn’t have said it better when she said: 

“When in doubt, don’t send the email, make the call or start a meeting until you feel “C3” — clear, calm and confident. There’s nothing worse than responding with attitude and paying the price later with self-doubt or anxiety. Always think of your actions from another’s point of view and take their perspective into consideration. This action alone can go a long way toward creating a mindful workplace.” 

4. Listen more, talk less

So many funeral directors mistakenly think that the best way for families to understand the value of what you do, is to tell them. However, the best way to truly show the value of what you do is by listening to what your families truly are going through. It is only through active listening that we can be in deepest service to families. So try listening more, and talking less, and see how your offerings can meet your families’ needs in a real way. You might find your business is more successful, just by listening more.

5. Become an observer in the chaos

Everyone knows that the energy you bring into your funeral home affects your families. So when you-know-what hits the fan, it’s important to not let that sway your emotions into the fire. Practice emotional balance, and observe the situation rather than react to it. 

Of course, you will physically have to take action when things go wrong at your funeral home. However, you can do so from an “observer’s” perspective rather than getting lost in the sauce of the chaos. This is one of the hardest practices out there, and it takes time to get there. But it’s so worth it. 

6. Try the art of reflection

One of our favorite mindfulness practices when it comes to communication is reflection. Reflection is essentially repeating back what someone has just said to you. It sounds simple, but consider this example to understand its power:

Client family: I just feel so confused since my husband passed and I can’t make any decisions right now.

Funeral director: I’m hearing that you’re feeling very confused right now and that making decisions has been hard since your husband has passed. I can only imagine how confusing this process must be. What can I do to help?

Client family: Wow, thank you so much, yes I am feeling confused. Maybe I need 5 minutes to cool off outside, and then I can make these decisions.

By reflecting what we hear to those who are speaking to us, we help to feel seen and heard and understood. We also help to bring clarity to their mind. Sometimes simply hearing what you said repeated back to you is all you needed for something to click. Try this tool with your families and let us know how it goes!

7. Avoid the weight of toxic stress with your own daily mindful practices

In the death industry, and most industries, we tend to wear stress like a reward around our necks. However, constant busy-ness and stress is toxic to our minds, bodies, emotions and spirits. Mindfulness has been used for millennia to help people ward off stress and strengthen their spirits. And now in the modern world, most large corporations incorporate forms of mindfulness into their business. 

Before sharing mindfulness with your funeral home, try incorporating it your own daily practice. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Try the Calm or Headspace apps to incorporate meditation into your daily routine
  • Go for a walk every morning or evening to cool off your head and get some fresh air
  • Dedicate time each day to put your phone away and spend time with your loved one’s and family  
  • Try this body scan exercise in the mornings when you wake up or before bed (see below)

Over to you

As you can see, mindfulness isn’t a very complex and its very easy to incorporate into your business and your life. Ask any successful CEO and they’ll tell you that mindfulness is the key to their success (if you don’t believe us check out this article). We hope this article gave you some ideas on how to incorporate mindfulness into your business and life!


How else do you incorporate mindfulness into your funeral biz? Tell us in the comments below!

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