Mindfulness At Work - 5 Ways of Being More Mindful in Your Workplace
Mindfulness - Everyone's Doing It!!!
From the local school to major corporations such as Google everyone now seems to be joining the Mindfulness wagon. Can it really ‘fix’ all the issues it claims to address?
Well, firstly let’s look at what we mean by ‘Mindfulness’. In simple terms, it is about awareness. Of being able to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement. Crossing divides of age, ability, gender and religion it really is accessible to all.
Mental Health Issues are now the leading cause of sick leave (in the UK). Workplace health and wellbeing is finally high on the agenda for most organisations, and Mindfulness can provide some long term strategies to enable businesses to address their employees mental, emotional, physical and social needs.
What about me?
So, how about you? Do you really need to develop some Mindful Techniques? Well, how about considering whether you answer Yes to any of the following questions:
- Are you just glancing over this article?
- Did you actually taste the food you ate at your last meal?
- Are you thinking about the next thing in your diary while you read this?
- Do you remember your commute to work today?
- Where you were looking at your phone while having a conversation with someone?
- Are you re-thinking a past event – or dreading something coming up soon?
Did you answer Yes to any of the above? Then, like so many of us you are spending lots of your time on autopilot or busy wishing away the present, re-evaluating something in the past or busy always thinking ahead.
Mindfulness can help us take a pause, stop before reacting to a situation on reflex and switch to the part of our brain that enable us choose our actions. The benefits of Mindfulness have been linked to an increase in these areas of emotional intelligence and self–regulation.
As Mirabai Bush, who introduced Mindfulness to Google said, “Over time with Mindfulness, we learn to develop the inner resources that will help us navigate through difficult, trying and stressful situations with more ease, comfort and grace.”
The good news, even short sessions of Mindfulness can have an effect. Though, like most things in life, if you don't use it, you lose it! Listed below are 5 simple techniques that you can bring into every day, at home and also in the workplace:
- Take a breath.
Yes, simply taking a conscious breath in and out can have a direct effect on your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Just sit, with your feet connected to the ground, sitting with you back straight (you will get more lung capacity – fresh oxygen for the heart and brain). Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Just be aware of your breath as it enters your body and as it leaves. Repeat this, up to 10 times.
- Step Away
Having a brain break is not only good for your emotional health but actually boosts brain function! Sitting in front of a screen for more than a few hours without allowing your brain to have a break, has been proven to lower productivity. So get those grey cells motivated by getting up, walking around for 5 minutes (outside if you can) and boost that mental agility.
You can do this whenever you need to just have a mindful moment, ensure that you are comfortable before you start. Whether at your desk, on the train commuting or at home, just closing your eyes and allowing your mind to focus on how your body is feeling can be very powerful. We do not often just ‘check-in’ and see- how our body is feeling. Take a moment to just see what is going on with your body. Is it tired? Is there any pain, discomfort or ache that you were not aware of? Try using your breath to focus in on any areas that need attention. Consciously think of your breath going to any area in need, then breath in and picture the breath going to that area. When you exhale, imagine some of that discomfort leaving with the expelled air.
Energy is all around us, from the phone in our hand to the roots of the trees. We can feel very disconnected when we are busy running from meeting to meeting or sitting at a desk all day. So, when you can, kick off your shoes and feel the earth beneath your feet. If you have any areas of green around your office building, take some time during lunch and walk barefoot. You may get some strange looks, but it allows you to connect and provides a fabulous feeling of freedom.
I know, the never-ending ‘drink more’ advice. It doesn't need to be a mission, just keep a bottle on your desk and start the habit of drinking little and often. This can even coincide with your brain breaks – 2 for the price of 1! Being hydrated really does impact on your wellbeing and air conditioning does not make it any easier, so keep the water levels up. Make this another Mindful practise by being aware of the water as you drink, taking the time to be present.
Can Mindfulness be the great ‘fix all’ for the workplace? No, although the research is certainly heading in the right direction. It can though, help not only the Big Business but the individual within any organisation. The more ‘mindful’ we are as individuals then surely the larger environments of our workplaces, home and communities will benefit. It is often hailed as the new tool for productivity, this may be true but it is the growth and wellbeing of the individual that ultimately will lead to increased success within any organisation.
If you would like to know how you can also work on creating a better work-life balance, then have a read of the previous blog. There are plenty of other tips on the website as well as free resources. If you are looking to further your Mindful Working Tips then how about joining our Newsletter.
You will also receive the 10 Signs of Stress Checklist and also the great tips and advice that come to you in every newsletter.
Are you also a Parent? Fancy a good book on useful tips? Check out the book on easy techniques to use with your children, in 40 Mindful Moments from Rachel Hawkes.
Here's hoping your workplace becomes a better place to be, with your awareness and tools for creating more mindful moments.
Rachel Hawkes is a mum to twin teenagers and teaches baby and kids yoga & mindfulness classes, alongside running a business Wellbeing Centre. She is a published author of 2 books relating to Mindful Parenting and loves to share her tips and ideas wherever she can.
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