Sometimes mindfulness is used interchangeably with meditation. While meditation is one of the most widely used techniques to practice mindfulness, it isn’t the only way.

Here are TEN strategies you can use to implement and practice mindfulness at work.

1. Notice and Name Your Emotions/Feelings

The first step to being more mindful at work is to notice when you’re not being mindful. Make it a habit of noticing when you feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, or your thoughts are jumping all over the place. In these moments, pause and take notice of your inner and outer world.

Is your heart racing? Is your stomach in knots? Are you sweating?

Did you know that our minds and bodies are connected as one? When you’re thinking stressful thoughts, it manifests as physical and emotional experiences of stress in the body.

Next time you’re feeling physical discomfort, take a moment and check in to see what’s going on.

Can you name the emotion and describe the sensations you’re feeling? Naming emotions helps us notice the gap between thoughts and feelings.

Instead of “I am anxious,” you can state, “I am feeling anxiety and tightness in my chest right now.” This simple strategy helps you begin to detach from the emotion and observe it without judgment. Recognize that learning to feel your feelings is one of the SECRETS to becoming unstoppable, as I share in this video.

As you pay attention to what you’re feeling, simply take a few breaths and sit with it. Allow it to wash over and pass through you. Almost all feelings pass within 60 seconds, and you’ll feel better after!

2. Be Present

To help you be more present, strive to focus on one task at a time. Can you go through your current task with an open, accepting, and even joyful appreciation for the present moment? Don’t get distracted thinking about the previous tasks you’ve completed or all the future work that’s still waiting on your to-do list; bring your attention to the now and focus solely on the task at hand.

You can do this by:

    Silencing your cell phone and notifications until the task is complete
    Setting a timer and committing to only the task for that period
    Placing a “do not disturb” sign on your office door

Over time, these mindfulness practices will become habitual in how you structure your day.

3. Be Kind to Yourself

Practicing mindfulness at work means letting go of perfection because perfectionism is a myth. Learn how to be kind to yourself through practicing self-compassion. Can you give yourself permission to acknowledge that you are human and we can only do so much in a day?

When you give your full attention to one task at a time, a text may have to go unanswered for a few hours. That email may have to wait until tomorrow. It can wait — your mental health is more important.

4. Minimize Multitasking

Did you know multitasking makes us less efficient?

To get out of the habit of multitasking, take time to clear your priorities each day. When writing your to-do list, determine which activities are actually pressing and which can wait, then put them in order from most to least important.

You can also check out these top time-management strategies to help you be more efficient and productive. Move through the list, working on one item at a time with plenty of scheduled breaks.

5. Breathe

Remember that you can be mindful doing anything. You don’t have to go on a silent meditation retreat or do yoga to experience the benefits of mindfulness.

One of the simplest ways to practice mindfulness is through the act of breathing, or breathwork.

A simple breathing technique is called the “Cleansing Breath”, where you take an inhale through the nose and exhale through an open mouth ahhhhh, releasing any stress or tension you’re holding onto.

When you feel negative thoughts creeping in, try taking a deep breath and see how it makes your body feel. Close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose, filling your lungs. Hold for a couple of seconds, and then gently release the air through your mouth.

Even just one deep breath can slow your heart rate, elevate your mood, and help you relax. Continue to intentionally focus on your breath for a minute or so until you feel calm again.

6. Meditate at Work

You don’t have to sit cross-legged on your office floor with incense burning to experience the powerful benefits of meditation at work.

Many people get discouraged and dislike meditation because they think meditation is about sitting quietly with no thoughts. Which feels impossible when you have a busy mind and active life, so they don’t try it. This is a common misconception.

Meditation is simply a practice of becoming present and aware. It does not mean you do not have thoughts. In fact, it is training your mind to focus on a particular object, thought, or activity as a way to improve your attention and awareness. It’s learning to become an observer without getting reactive. In this way, you can achieve a calm and stable state emotionally and mentally.

7. Schedule Breaks/Rest Time

Attention is like a muscle — it wears out with repeated use. Take frequent breaks to allow your brain to rest and recharge. Block out quiet time so you can do nothing and just be. Allowing your brain to enter a relaxed state can stimulate the production of alpha waves and boost creativity.

8. Automate Your Work Activities

Automation allows us to work harder, not smarter. Take inventory of your daily tasks — how many of them are repetitive, tedious activities that zap your brain power? Is there a way to automate any of them?

Here are some examples of how you can use technology to automate your work:

    Automated email sorting
    Automated hiring processes
    Automated file transfers
    Automated accounting

These are just a few examples. You may be surprised how many daily activities can go on auto-pilot so that you can save your precious time and attention for critical tasks.

9. Work With a Mindfulness/Wellness Coach

What is a mindfulness/wellness coach? A professional who can help you learn and practice mindfulness to increase your self-awareness and feel so much better. You can learn to prioritize self-care, quiet your inner critic, and reconnect with yourself so you can reach your full potential. Are you ready to move away from survival mode and into thriving mode? A wellness coach is key! And yes, you might “know” all the right things to do.

But to know and not do, is to not know. Having a coach by your side helps keep you accountable so you can be successful with ease!

10. Model Mindfulness for Others

Encourage leadership in your organization to adopt mindfulness practices. A company-wide mindfulness campaign is an investment that will pay dividends in the long run.

According to a study by Cornell University, companies that incorporate mindfulness and wellness programs have happier and more productive employees, lower turnover rates, more creativity and innovation, and attract top talent.

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