Can mindful awareness reduce my anxiety at work?

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A few months ago when we were working from home, I noticed that a few of my colleagues were a little uncomfortable whenever we had to have Zoom meetings.

While I told myself that this was probably due to a few teething issues we were having, I became a little concerned when this continued for weeks on end.

After a few private conversations, I found out that this was entirely because a few of them didn’t like having their cameras turned on. While it certainly didn’t bother me, I understood why they might feel that way and immediately told my teams that they didn’t have to have their cameras turned on if they didn’t want to.

Stress and anxiety can appear for any reason, especially when you’re working through a history-altering, global pandemic.

It can be caused by something as common as a deadline or something as personal as the clothes you wear. These thoughts have now been identified as maladaptive thinking processes and can certainly make you feel stressed and anxious.

In these situations, and as someone who has dealt with anxiety, I’ve realised that mindful awareness can be an important tool to help you focus on the present moment and reduce any negative emotions you may be experiencing.

Here’s why.

Mindful awareness helps you accept—and not resist—the negative

Many of us are hard-wired to focus on what’s unpleasant rather than the good things that happen around us. In these moments, our reaction tends to be those of avoidance or resistance.

Resisting or avoiding these experiences or emotions can lead to very unhealthy coping mechanisms. You may also try to numb out the pain because you think that feeling nothing is better than dealing with what’s in front of you.

Neither is healthy for your physical or mental health.

By practicing mindful awareness, you train yourself to confront painful feelings like anxiety and stay present without pushing it away. Similarly, mindful awareness helps you remain present, especially when things are going well and prevents you from clinging on to it or becoming dependent on it.

This helps you achieve a state of mind that doesn’t depend on an endless supply of pleasant emotions or experiences.

Presence of mind helps you respond, not react

My team was feeling anxious over a situation they thought they didn’t have any control over.

When faced with such situations, it’s important to stop yourself from being preoccupied with the ‘what-ifs’ and be entirely present and honest about what you’re feeling. Don’t buy into the idea that you can only enjoy peace of mind if a situation out of your control is fixed.

The only way to avoid reacting to these situations is to be mindfully aware that not everything is in your control. This will help you accept life for what it is and remain patient and practice self-compassion regardless of what’s happening around you.

Identify your thought patterns and shift how you approach challenging situations

Mindful awareness helps you engage with the reality of each moment without getting lost in your own thoughts.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about suppressing your feelings and emotions but about identifying them and understanding them for what they are.

Thinking is an important part of being human; it is overthinking that leaves us in a world of our own creation, rather than in reality.

Practice mindful awareness to understand your thought patterns and take control of how you perceive your problems. You will soon realise that whatever is making you anxious is not your reality, but a pseudo-reality you’re experiencing because of how you think.

Leverage mindful awareness to take charge of your thoughts and reduce your anxiety

Research has shown that there’s a significant reduction in feelings of anxiety among people diagnosed with GAD, a chronic anxiety disorder, when they practice mindful awareness and accept their thoughts.

This is one of the many reasons why companies are increasingly embracing methods of mindful awareness in the workplace to help employees manage their stress and anxiety.

Get in touch with my team and explore how you can integrate mindfulness in the work you do. Discover the many benefits of leveraging our mindfulness app and enjoying increased focus, productivity, and wellbeing among your employees.