3 Ways to Practice Mindfulness At Work
Amid meetings, emails and presentations, staying mindful at work can seem like a challenge. Even so, taking just a few minutes out of the work day to simply be present can be incredibly beneficial for your health. Mindfulness both a practice and a psychological state of acceptance and awareness, can lower stress, high blood pressure and improve cognitive function.
Companies are catching on; according to a study conducted by National Business Group on Health (NBGH) and Fidelity Investments, 22% of corporations now offer mindfulness training programs. Yet you don’t have to be part of a company-sponsored group meditation to reap the benefits of mindfulness at work.
Below are three ideas you can use during the work day to be more present.
#1: Practice Mini-Meditations
Extended meditation sessions are hard to come by on any given workday. Luckily, they don’t have to be very long; even two minutes of meditation will do. Throughout the day, carve out pockets of time for these mini-meditations. Doing so can help when you’re under pressure, feeling frazzled, or simply need to focus.
Before starting work, take a few minutes to engage in a short mindfulness exercise. In a quiet space, relax, sit upright and breathe. Slowly bring your attention to your breathing pattern: breathe in and breathe out. As you focus on your breathing, you’ll likely find your thoughts wandering. Observe the thoughts. Let them pass. Then bring your focus back to your breathing.
By regularly practicing mindfulness exercises throughout the day, you can train your brain to be more mindful, and improve your ability to focus.
#2: Take a Tech Break
In a time of constant connectivity, unplugging from technology seems nearly impossible. In the workplace, you’re glued to the computer, constantly bombarded with emails. But as convenient as constant technology can be, it wreaks havoc on our health. Over time, it reduces our productivity, increases stress and lowers creativity.
One cure is to short breaks from technology whenever you can. During your lunch break, rather than sift through emails, unplug from technology. If possible, find a quiet space to do mindfulness exercises. A short break can bring you back feeling refreshed and ready to work again.
#3: Focus on Your Stress
It seems counterintuitive—focusing on your stress in the workplace? Wouldn’t time better be spent alleviating your stress? Ironically, being aware of short-term stress can improve productivity. Studies indicate that perceptions of stress can affect health and mortality more than stress itself. Individuals with high levels of stress who believed that stress negatively affects health reported poorer health and had an increased risk of premature death.
It’s no secret that the workplace can get hectic. By being mindful of it, however, you can reframe your perceptions of short-term stress. Whenever you’re feeling anxious or under pressure, take note of how you feel. Be aware of the thoughts that are hurtling through your mind. Observe your physiological reactions. And know that short-term stress isn’t always bad for you; it can help energize and challenge you. By being mindful of your stress, you can improve your health and productivity.