In this chapter, we’ve touched on mindfulness and its benefits. Whilst the act of mindfulness means being present, it doesn’t mean we need to sit silently in a room repeating the sound ‘om’. Although the like can help and is proven to improve mindful behaviour there are many other ways we can be mindful. Work can be stressful but being mindful at work is not and here are some ways in which you can practise mindfulness in the workplace.
Practise Focused Breathing
You may find daily meditation sessions or chanting the sacred mantra necessary when it comes to focusing on your breathing, but you needn’t. Whether you do this when you arrive at the office or during stressful moments, taking five to focus on our breathing enables us to be present and disturb negative thoughts.
Set Reasonable Targets
Allowing minor or negative happenings to consume our mind, robs us of our joy. Seeking perfection by making comparisons to others around you only results in a try-fail cycle. When you set your goals for the day or week, compare them with your previous self. You can always try harder or strive to be better however targets must be obtainable.
Focus On The Positives
In order to be mindful, we have to first adopt the mindset that what we have in the here and now is enough. If you’re feeling wobbly, make a list of your achievements, in all aspects of your life. Think about the great things you’ve achieved in your education, in your career, creatively or throughout your life experiences. It’s likely you’ll be surprised with what you have achieved however this not only brings awareness to your achievements it reduces anxiety and depression.
In the same way we fuel our minds with positive thoughts and happy energy, this can be enhanced by the food we eat. That chocolate bar or that bag of Haribos? Think twice before your mind needs its next sugar rush. Instead of reaching for junk, choose something that will give you a healthy energy boost, such as a juicy fruit or wholesome nuts (they can be covered in dark chocolate, it’s good for you!)
Try Email Meditation
This might be something new to you, but you can do email meditation to be mindful at work. Often we’re expected to answer emails in a certain time frame, yet these expectations are often boundary-less and somehow implemented with little mutual agreement. Before hitting send on that next email, take three deep breaths. This keeps you calm and prevents mistakes from being made.
Up your Morning Routine
The first 90 minutes of your day sets you up for the next 12 hours. Chances are if you get up 20 minutes before you have to leave the house you’re going to feel under pressure for the rest of the day. Starting with a healthy morning routine leaves you feeling alert, vigilant and ready to tackle unexpected or fearful situations.
Set Intentions At the Beginning of the Day
At the start of your day think about which of your tasks feels like a hurdle to mount, and begin with that. As a professional, we can often find ourselves at the end of a handful of ‘I need it done yesterday!’ requests, and the feeling is perpetual. In defining, understanding, and managing your priorities you’re able to effectively manage your time and keep your mind at peace.
Make Your Work Meaningful
A sense of purpose in life gives us meaning. We realise our life purpose through our careers or through our passions and hobbies. When you’re at work, instead of looking at tasks as ‘need-to-do’, think of them as a learning curve or helping you through personal growth. Growth is intrinsic and gradual, we don’t see gains overnight however over time you will if you give meaning to what you do.
Take 1-Minute Meditation Breaks
We like to hope you are in a workplace that promotes meditation, if so you’ll be able to do this from your desk or break area. During your break at work take one minute to close your eyes, focus on your breathing and bring your mind to the present. You’ll be surprised by the miracles this practise performs on your productivity.
Focus on One Task At A Time
For our mental well being, (and sanity!) focusing on one task at a time and saying no to certain requests avoids stretching ourselves too thin. Every waking hour shouldn’t be spent bleary-eyed staring at our inbox and managing countless tasks. Because, we all know doing that achieves very little and endless Starbucks lattes just won’t cut it.
Adopt a Growth Mindset
Goal setting and career progression is great, so long as it is realistic and within your reach. Personal growth comes in all shapes and sizes, they don’t need to be grand. They can be as small as going for a 15 minute walk or reading a new book in a week. However mindfulness begins and ends with you, your mindset sets you up right for failures, successes and everything in between.
Embrace Your Feelings
Putting up mental defenses is draining when responding to a barrage of ‘are you okay?’ questions. Acknowledging and accepting how you feel each day and about where you are and most importantly who you are, you’re on the road to being mindful. The challenge is to maintain this, and in the workplace it’s inevitable we have ups and downs so when you’re not feeling yourself, treat yourself kindly and put self-care at the top of your to-do list that day.
Can we help? The Everymind app promotes mental well being in the workplace by normalising conversations surrounding mental health through technology. The platform is filled with helpful content like this in improving the well being of your workforce. Take a look at our demo here.