Work is a place that we can easily feel stressed and overwhelmed. Maybe you have multiple projects going at the same time or an impossibly short deadline that your boss wants you to meet. It’s happened to all of us at one point! The key to keeping calm under all this stress? Mindfulness.
When a workplace promotes mindfulness a few changes begin to happen. The entire company culture changes. The workplace begins to attract (and keep) the best employees. And performance within the company improves!
On an individual level though, mindfulness allows us to:
- Stay focused on the task at hand
- Reduce stress
- Communicate better with colleagues
- Set realistic objectives
- Manage expectations
- And control our emotions when outcomes aren’t ideal
Two Ways to Gain that Mindful Edge
1. Learn to Sit Quietly and Meditate
Meditation, although it can sound boring, actually has countless benefits! A meditation session can last anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours and can be done anywhere, anytime. That’s the beauty of meditation: all you need is you.
If you’ve never tried meditation before, here are a few guidelines to help you through your first session.
- Choose a length of time, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 20 minutes… this part is up to you! And set a timer for yourself, preferably something gentle to bring you out of your meditation.
- Sit down and bring your awareness to your posture, sit up straight, but allow yourself to feel relaxed and comfortable. Rest your arms and hand in a comfortable position. Over time, this posture will come naturally, but it may take a little effort to sit up straight at first if you’re used to being hunched over your computer all day.
- Now, allow your muscles to relax. Pay attention to any tension you’re holding on to and try to let it go. Are you clenching your jaw? Are your shoulders relaxed away from your ears?
- Next, notice your breathing: feel the sensations of your breath in your body. This could mean the air flowing into and out of your nostrils or your chest rising and falling.
- Now, allow yourself to take note of the sounds, lights, smells, and other sensations around you. As you notice these things, accept them and bring your attention back to your breathing.
- If you feel your mind begin to drift, come back to your breathing and begin again.
While there are many other ways to meditate, this traditional practice is something that anyone can do no matter the time or place.
2. Bring Meditation into Every Part of Your Day
The practice of moment-to-moment mindfulness allows you to subtly bring meditation into every day without setting aside time to sit quietly. These subtle meditations may take a bit of mindfulness to remember to practice, but can be extremely effective. Here are a couple of examples to add to your day:
Breathe before you respond. When you hear your phone ring, you get a text, or your computer dings to notify you of a new email, take a breath—well, 3 breaths. Before you answer the phone or reply to that email, allow yourself to take 3 deep and mindful breaths. Pay attention to these breaths the same way you would during a traditional meditation: clear your mind and focus on the sensations.
Take advantage of your daydreaming. Do you ever notice your mind wandering? Sure, we all do! Whenever you notice yourself daydreaming, notice your thoughts; the content, the emotions, whatever you’re feeling. Then take a deep breath and continue on with the task at hand!
Doing these two things alone will allow you to begin practicing meditation without too much time or effort. Give them a try and see what benefits you notice!