You’ve heard all about the benefits of mindfulness at work but sometimes it just feels tricky to find the right moment for it. Perhaps you haven’t found time for a mindfulness at work course yet but you want to get started. Or maybe you’ve been looking for some unique mindfulness at work exercises to incorporate into your day? With some forward planning and a bit of thought, practising mindfulness at work can easily become part of your daily routine. We take a look at 4 practices to build your daily quota of mindfulness in the office or wherever else you happen to be. You’ll learn about
- setting an intention (your roadmap for the day)
- mindful commuting (yes, it’s possible)
- creating an easy space for a mindful pause in your day
- switching on instead of off and starting as you mean to go on
Here’s how to be more mindful at work in 4 steps.
Sometimes work can seem like an endless cycle of doing that we forget we’re human be-ings. If that ‘To Do’ list sitting on your desk is bringing you out in a cold sweat, we’ve got some awesome tips to bring more mindfulness into your day and turn down the volume on stress.
Auto pilot is fine for a while, but we’d like a choice over whether we’re on it or not. We’ve been there. When you’re being pulled in several different directions it’s easy to forget about your good intentions to be more mindful and let life happen. But as the old zen saying goes, when you think you don’t have time to meditate, that’s when you need to sit down for an hour. We hear that. Mindfulness gives us a way back into the present moment and a way of slowing down the onslaught of working life so we’ve chosen 4 mindfulness at work tips to get you into the swing of things. Ready?
1. How to be more mindful at work: Intention
Well yes, we know you go to work to er, work but intention is about how you’d like your day to shape up whilst you’re there. When you wake up set an intention of how you intend your day to be. This is really about setting your focus and training yourself to keep your intention at the forefront. Your intention could be to be more relaxed about your day, to create as many mindful opportunities as you can, to get your work life balance on track, be kinder to colleagues (or yourself) or be more compassionate. You choose, it’s your day.
2. How to be more mindful at work: Getting There
This is one we use on a regular basis. The commute. Possibly the most stressful part of the day for many. Reframe that thought. Think of your commute as an opportunity.
See if it’s possible to park the car further away from the office, get off the bus or the train a stop early using the rest of the journey for a mindful walk. Notice how your body feels as you walk, the ground underneath your feet, the shifting of your core from left to right, the sensation of movement. Bring your focus to each moment by noticing what’s around you, the wind on your face, the sun on your skin. What have you previously missed as you’ve walked past architecture? parks? the shades of green as sunlight falls upon the leaves in the trees. If you’re able to, optimise your walk by using any parks or green space along the way. We know from research that walking in a green space gives an even greater return on the stress busting investment of your walk.
3. How to be more mindful at work: The Pause
It’s easy to get caught up in the doing, doing, doing of the day. So set yourself a reminder to pause throughout the day. These mini check ins are a great way of reminding yourself to take time out, bringing your mind and body back into the moment. Try setting a gentle alarm on your phone every 40 minutes or using one of the many apps available that sound a bell (Zazen is a great free example of this). When you hear the reminder, stop whatever you’re doing, pause and breath, checking in with what’s going on in your mind and body. Ask yourself; ‘What’s here, right now?”
4. How to be more mindful at work: Switching On
It’s so easy to turn on your computer and get drawn into emails and demands on your time. We know what it’s like to feel the beginnings of a stress cycle as you scan row upon row of emails. We’re great believers in starting as you mean to go on. The next time you walk into the office, try this instead. Sit down and don’t touch a thing. Close your eyes. Feel the chair supporting you, your feet on the ground, the contact with the earth. Notice what’s happening in your mind; are you calm, hurried or tense? Just notice, don’t judge or try to change whatever is going on. How does your body feel? What’s here? In this moment? As you inhale, say to yourself “In” and “Out” as you exhale. Do this for 1 minute. If your mind waders, or you become distracted by thoughts, notice without getting caught up, saying to yourself “This is thinking”. Give yourself huge props for notIcing and then come back to your breath. This is a great way to ground yourself before starting your day and also an excellent practice if you find yourself in the thick of things and feeling overwhelmed as the day goes on.
For more, watch Chade Meng Tan reveal how Google have brought mindfulness into the workplace:
Let us know how you get on with these 4 tips, we’d love to hear from you.
Interested in learning more? check out our completely free resources (everything from recorded meditations, ebooks, podcasts, blogs and psychometrics including a mindfulness self assessment).
And if you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of mindfulness at work, the neuroscience of mindful leadership or mindfulness activities for groups get in touch with us. We combine our expertise in mindfulness, neuroscience and positive psychology to optimise your wellbeing and performance. We’ve designed hundreds of mindfulness programmes for business, and delivered mindfulness programmes in the workplace for international companies and organisations including UK Sport, Spotify, The V&A, doctors in the NHS, Natural History Museum, Deloitte, PWC, Barclays, Ernst and Young and more. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Image courtesy of Christopher Burns and those lovely people at Unsplash.