How to bring mindfulness into your working life
Mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular all around the world; there are apps, colouring books, and even a little tracker that measures your breathing. But what has mindfulness got to do with daily working life? And, vitally, can it really make a difference?
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is all about enhanced attention at any given moment, and it’s a natural human capacity. The term ‘mindful’ is generally used to describe methods, qualities and experience of being absorbed in the present moment.
American poet Thomas Lynch describes it as
‘Radically accepting a current situation, thought, emotion or experience and maintaining a stance of willingness to enter into life with awakeness and effectiveness’
So, essentially, it’s all about acceptance and attention; being aware of yourself and accepting any feelings, thoughts, or experiences. Sounds nice, right?
Mindfulness comes with a whole host of benefits, including:
- Reduced levels of stress and seeing situations from a broader or bigger perspective
- Thinking and responding in more creative ways
- Improved focus
- Greater awareness of others
- An ability to set aside our personal agenda
- Letting go of judgment
- Acting from a deeper sense of values
- Experiencing empathy and increasing emotional intelligence
- Having more consistent positive feelings towards ourselves and others
Can it fit into your working day?
In order to get the benefits above you might think that you’d need to dedicate hours every single day, but we all know that that’s just not possible – life happens and is busy! Well, you can reap the rewards of mindfulness with a little effort every day.
Start by making a clear decision to be as present as you can. Pause, breathe, and go into the office with full attention. Notice the little things like opening the door – how does the handle feel? Is the door heavy or light? What about that squeaky sound it makes?
You can also incorporate mindfulness by dealing with one task at a time. If you’re frantically switching between emails and a report you’re never going to be fully attentive to either of them.
One minute meditation to get you started
Sit comfortable in a straight backed chair and close your eyes. Focus your attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body, if your mind wanders gently bring it back to your breath without giving yourself a hard time. Allow your feelings to come and go; you might feel a sense of calm or stillness, or you might feel frustrated briefly. Let it go.
After one minute, open your eyes and take in the room.
If you’d like to learn more about how to be more mindful at work take a look at our one day course Mindfulness at work: an introduction.