Updated: Oct 2, 2019
Think you need a meditation cushion, rain forest soundtrack, and scented candles to bring more mindfulness to your workday? Well, think again!
When many folks hear the word "mindfulness," meditation might be the first thing that comes to mind. And while it's true that having a consistent meditation practice is the most reliable way to cultivate mindfulness, with a little bit of thoughtful intention you can invite more calm, focus, and clarity to your workday by bringing some mindfulness to your 9 - 5 experience.
Here are some tips to get you started which have definitely helped me both as a business owner and employee:
1. Make the most of your commute. When you're thinking ahead to the meeting you have to attend or the email you have to send, you can unconsciously create anxiety in the mind and body. Use your time in transit to relax and set your intentions for the day. Think about how you want your coworkers, customers, and clients to experience you, and distill that feeling into a few words or short sentences. Set the intention that no matter what the day brings, you're going to practice responding, rather than reacting.
2. Deepen Your Breath. Just one deep breath can slow your heart rate, improve blood pressure, and help cultivate a sense of control. When you consciously bring focus onto your breath, you’ll begin to relax. Try consciously bringing your attention to your breathing to give yourself a mental break for a moment or two. And while you're at it, take a mental scan of your body and soften any paces of tension you may be unconsciously creating. You’ll be amazed at how this simple practice can halt anxiety and stress in its tracks and focus the mind. The best part—no one will even know you’re doing it!
3. Put your phone in airplane mode. Studies show that multitasking is one of the biggest energy killers there is, decreasing your productivity by as much as 40%, and constantly checking your phone every time a notification pings is probably one of the most ubiquitous culprits of them all. When you're working on a project, block out a chunk of time to work on that, and only that, and give your mind a chance to focus. If you're feeling bold, take off the email notifications on your computer for a few hours too.
4. Be grateful! When we're drowning in deadlines, or having difficulty with a boss or coworker, it can be hard to feel grateful. But science shows that the practice of gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression, which might be just what you need to make it through a tough day. Try pausing throughout the day to acknowledge the small wins, as well as the bigger ones. And practice recognising team successes as well as personal successes. It's an easy way to bring some positive vibes to your present moment experience.
5. Take your lunch break. Things seem to be moving faster than ever, and it might seem like you have no choice if you want to keep up, but science tells us that taking a brief break could be exactly what you need. It prevents decision fatigue, increases productivity and creativity, and restores motivation to keep pushing towards your goals. Whether it be every day or just once a week, try eating by yourself, in silence. Stay away from devices, slow down, and taste your food. Bonus points if you do it outside. This simple act of self-care will reset and recharge you for the rest of the day.
So what do you think? How do you bring more mindfulness to your workday? Sound off in the comments below...
And if you think your organisation could benefit from more focus and engagement, let's talk!