4 Easy Ways To Apply Mindfulness At Work
To reduce stress and improve your quality of work
Work can be incredibly stressful, especially in a pandemic. More than ever we need tools and practices to get through the working day with a positive mindset.
It’s roots lie in Buddhism and meditation but you don’t have to be spiritual to enjoy the benefits. Rather than worrying about tomorrow or stressing about yesterday, practicing mindfulness at work is about paying attention to the moment you’re in right now and acknowledging your thoughts, feelings and the world around you.
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre told the UK NHS, “mindfulness also allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful”.
This mentality will allow you to gain some perspective and see things more clearly to reduce stress and improve your creativity and productivity. But most importantly, it will give your brain a well earned rest from all the overwhelming thoughts. You don’t even have to sit with your legs crossed on the office floor (or kitchen floor if you’re working from home) and meditate silently for 20 minutes, there are some super easy practices you can try right this second!
Choose an affirmation or mantra each day
Each morning, choose a positive affirmation or mantra to guide your day. You could write it out and stick it on your laptop or find a pretty Pinterest quote and use it as your phone lock screen. But ensure that your mantra aligns with who you are or who you want to be. Some examples could be:
- “I have limitless potential”
- “I carry all the power I need inside myself already”
- “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing”
- “I can transform obstacles into opportunities to better myself”
Something as natural and simple as breathing has wondrous effects on the body and mind. The majority of the time you probably don’t even realize that you’re breathing, and many people suffering from stress or anxiety literally forget to breathe. But, consciously bringing your awareness to your breath can relax and steady you. It’s a practice taught in yoga but you can use it anywhere at anytime.
In his book, Dr Danny Penman describes the art of breathing: “your breath is the greatest asset you have. It’s naturally meditative and always with you. It reflects your most powerful emotions and allows you to either soothe or harness them”. It helps you to feel solid, whole, and in complete control of your life while grounding you in the present moment, clarifying the mind, and unshackling your instincts”.
If you’re already a master at breathing, why not up your game and meditate. Headspace has free meditation audio guides and an entire library dedicated to developing mindfulness, relieve stress, and improve focus, all of which are beneficial in the workplace.
Step away from your desk
Don’t mindlessly eat your lunch while you work, instead, enjoy the food you’ve made and taste every flavor and texture of it. It may be tempting to plough through the day and get it over with, but it’s far more beneficial for the quality of your work and your peace of mind, to take a break. Actually stepping away from your desk is key, try moving to another room or go for a 20 minute walk because time in nature is the perfect opportunity to be present.
Keep a work journal and each day, jot down one good thing that happened. It’s important to focus on the positives, even if you have to look a little harder some days. Of course, you may not like every aspect of your job and setbacks may cause a mood dip, but focusing on just one good thing can shift your perspective.