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For many of us, mindfulness is not a quality or trait we think about enough or prioritise when it comes to self-development. In 2020, however, mindfulness at work is dominating some of the biggest conversations on creating more positive experiences in the workplace and effective stress management.
Mindfulness is a practice of developing self-awareness and awareness of others through the development of continuously being present even when it is challenging. It requires us to pay attention purposefully and non-judgmentally. A skill that is natural but rarely practiced or cultivated.
If you’ve found it hard to escape all-consuming work stress or feel the need to be more calm, clear and self-aware at work, mindfulness is your best bet.
In the context of mindfulness, absentmindedness means that you are not really present. Instead you are constantly distracted and obsessed with thinking, daydreams, results, judgments and fears. Research indicates that the average person spends for than 50% of their time absent minded. That’s half your life!
Absent mindedness can also feel like a kind of auto-pilot; completing tasks while lost in our thoughts. Unfortunately, the brain research reveals that thinking is mostly negatively oriented. This means that we’re constantly in a low-grade fight, flight or freeze mode.
Let go from your rumination, tune in and become more mindful of your environment by first, acknowledging the physical sensations and sounds you experience and hear when you walk into work.
When it comes to completing tasks, allow yourself to be absorbed in your work instead of distracted with thoughts and obsessions. You’ll find its better all around. If you need some rest, take a break.
When we encounter a thought, a feeling, a type of behaviour or anything that we’d rather not deal with, our mindset immediately becomes avoidant - we look for any way we can avoid going through that unpleasant experience.
This is what we mean by ‘resistance’. While this is an entirely natural response, practising mindfulness at work requires you to accept any situation for what it is.
However, this doesn’t just mean that you remain apathetic to the negative things that happen or don’t try to make things better - just that you do so with a mindset of acceptance that whatever the outcome is, you will be okay with it. This leads to wise, non-reactive and constructive outcomes – exactly what we all want.
When we work in chaotic environments, it’s easy for that quality to seep into our thinking, without us even realising it.
As a first step to practising mindfulness at work, declutter your workspace and add some order to it. If possible, get yourself a low-maintenance plant for your desk and add some greenery to your environment. It has been found that mindfully tending to a plant reduces your blood pressure, increases productivity, and improves job satisfaction.
When you come to a clean and orderly desk in the morning, you’re more likely to feel motivated to conquer the tasks ahead of you.
If you’re feeling like you’re getting engulfed in the pressures of work, taking a quick mindfulness break can help you hit the refresh button. You’ll find plenty of short meditations on our app.
While it’s preferable if you can leave your desk and head out for some sunshine, this is even possible while you sit in place. If you’re at your desk and you don't have our app handy, reach out for an ornament or anything else that catches your fancy and focus on the physical sensation of it in your hands. Turn it over repeatedly and feel its ridges and make note of the textures you’re feeling.
While this may seem ineffective at stemming the tide of stress you’re experiencing, you’ll be surprised at how focused you’ll feel afterwards.
Having steady meals in front of us each day is a privilege. So, why shouldn’t you take the time to really mindfully enjoy it and savour every bite?
Another way to practise mindfulness at work is to take time during your lunch break and really focus on the food you’re eating - no phones, no distractions; basically, no numbing yourself.
While it’s important to interact informally with your colleagues, having a ‘mindful’ lunch every now and then will not only help you enjoy your meals but also help you eat less!
Mindfulness at work is a choice and a luxury - master it for a more meaningful life
If you’ve been struggling at work or are absolutely frustrated by your inability to control your stress, mindfulness will help you come to terms with what’s in front of you and help you feel significantly calmer and clearer.
Among its other benefits, this practice helps you improve your physical and mental wellbeing, including your self-esteem. To understand how you can harness its benefitsand change the way you live, find out more about our mindfulness app.