Stress, long hours, last-minute requests, and pressure from your boss…sound familiar? We have all dealt with some degree of stress in the workplace. Learning how to be mindful at work can alleviate stress and make your workplace a more positive and encouraging place to be.
How to Be Mindful at Work
Meditation and mindfulness practices have increased in popularity, but one place you may not have thought to bring these exercises is to your office. Research done at Harvard University revealed that 47% of people spend their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing in the present moment; this means you may be more unfocused at work than you thought. By learning how to be mindful at work, you may be able to increase your focus and productivity. Here are some tips on how to be mindful at work:
- Your Morning Commute: Setting your intention for the day is a powerful mindfulness technique that allows you to acknowledge and control your feelings for the day. As you head to work in the morning, take some time to set your intention by deciding how you want to feel and what you want to accomplish for the day. Any feelings or activities that deviate from this intention should be avoided.
- Before Meetings: Once you get to work, set aside 5-10 minutes before you check your email or run to your first meeting. With your eyes clothes, breathe deeply and focus on each inhalation and exhalation. If you’d like a little privacy, try to find an empty conference room for these few minutes. The importance is to center yourself and to relax your mind before you jump into your hectic workday.
- During Meetings: This is a great option if your colleagues are on board to try a mindfulness practice. Before your meeting starts, encourage everyone to sit quietly for two minutes, breathing deeply and focusing on their breath. You may find that just a few minutes of mindfulness makes your meeting more efficient and effective.
- Active Listening: One way to be mindful at work is to ensure you are practicing active listening. Not only will you retain more information, but the speaker will feel more understood. To actively listen, focus solely on the speaker and remove distractions such as cell phones, computers, and your own internal dialogue; don’t think about what you’re going to say next, but listen and respond to your co-worker.
- At Lunch: According to the workplace consulting group, Right Management, only 1 in 5 office workers take a lunch break. Never taking a break from cognitive tasks can reduce your ability to be creative and efficient. Therefore, step away from your desk and enjoy your meal, even if it is just for 15-20 minutes.
- Take a Walk: A study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that short outdoor walks were associated with better concentration and less fatigue through the afternoon hours. Try stepping away from your desk for a brisk 10-20 minute walk. As you stroll, focus on your breath and the present moment.
- Your Evening Commute: Enjoy this time to yourself to be present. Turn off your phone and the radio and focus on your breath. Try not to focus on the workday you just finished up or what is waiting for you at home, simply focus on being present. You will be relaxed and ready to enjoy your evening by the time you arrive home.
A regular mindfulness practice will help you focus on what’s important and remove distractions in your life. New to meditation? Check out Breath of Life by Sri Dharma Mittra and enjoy your journey to mindfulness. Happy breathing!