The workplace is a world of distraction, constant deadlines with emails, phone calls, piles of paperwork, meetings, and presentations to deal with, all screaming for our attention at the same time. The following line of action is to multi-task and become less effective because we tend to split our attention to accomplish two or more tasks simultaneously. Our energy gets zaps out at the end of the day, and emotions run wild, affecting our productivity and relationship with other team members.
Now, this is where mindfulness comes in. I know you might have wondered how you can apply the principles of mindfulness in the middle of the “busyness.”
Well, we’d get there.
When you practice mindfulness in the workplace, you’ll be a better version of yourself! it enables you to focus on one task at a time, making you more productive, creative, patient, and understanding
Mindfulness re-patterns your thinking such that you become much aware of yourself and others, focus on the present, and be still in the face of pressure. You’d be able to see how your filters affect your perceptions and the decisions you make. Once these filters are kept in check, you’d become more willing to listen and learn from others, building better connections with everything around you, i.e., connection with others, to your community, and the planet.
Most people who practice mindfulness start with deep breathing. It will help them relax every part of their body and mind.
Once relaxed, they focus on one thing: a physical object, their breath, or something else.
You shouldn’t be dismayed if your mind becomes clouded with wandering thoughts. All you have to do is guide it back without judgment and focus on that same thing. That’s it!
The secret is paying attention to the present.
● You can meditate when lying down. All you have to do is:
● You could lie on your back on the floor of your office.
● Place arms at your sides with your legs extended and your palms facing up.
● Focus your attention slowly and deliberately on every component of your body, from head to toe or from toe to head.
● Be conscious of any thoughts, sensations, or emotions associated with each part of your body.
You can also meditate when sitting:
● Sit with your back comfortably straight
● Put your feet face down on the floor while your hands should be on your lap.
● Breathe. Just Breathe through your nose
● As you keep breathing, focus on your breath as it keeps moving in and out of your body.
● If any thoughts or physical sensations intrude into this exercise, then you should note them down before returning your focus to your breath.
If you intend to do the walking meditation, then you should:
● Find a quiet place that is up to twenty feet in length. It could be the cafeteria, the balcony, the park, anywhere.
● After spotting the best place for this exercise, you begin to stroll.
● As you walk, be aware of the sensations of standing first and the subtle movements that keep you stable. Just focus on the experience of taking each step forward.
● When you reach the end of your path, don’t stop. Turn and stroll to where you started. As you turn, keep being conscious of every movement as well as the sensations that follow.
● Practising this exercise helps regardless of which strategy you’d be using as long as you do it; even if it’s just for a minute, it’s worth it.
You can also practice the following techniques in addition to the stated mindful breathing technique.
Engage in active listening: this is one of the best ways to incorporate mindfulness into your workday. It helps not only your performance at work but also improves your relationships.
You can as well practise gratitude and acceptance. Take a few minutes to silent your mind from the noise and reflect on all you have and acquired. Practising acceptance implies acknowledging unpleasant emotions when they creep into your mind instead of dwelling on them.
Apart from unplugging to do the above-stated breathing/mindful exercise, you can intentionally unplug from the various distractions of daily life, such as social media, televisions, cell phones, etc. These distractions can make you forgetful at work while adding to the stress in your life.
You can as well unplug in your car on your way home by embracing the silence in the car, focusing on your breathing and the texture of the seat, the feeling of air in your hair, and other sensational feelings as you drive home.
At the end of every day, we all end up stressed up, both on the personal, academic, and professional front, which affects our health and relationships, no doubt. And to worsen it, our stressed-out life continues to get heightened each day as striking a work-life balance is difficult. There are several strategies to immensely cope and reduce stress, and one which stands out is the impact of mindful breathing.
Mindful breathing can be incorporated before the start of each day, during the day, and when you’re done at the office. Irrespective of how we try to take on two tasks to reduce our table’s workload, we end up highly stressed, with nothing to show for it. However, as stated in previous chapters, practising mindfulness would help balance our emotions and manage our reactions, especially when things do not turn out as expected in the workplace.
In addition to mindfulness, you can try some stress management techniques if you find it hard to cope with work stress.
Start Your Day Right
Research has it that those who meditate before leaving their homes are more productive, creative, and optimistic at work. In scenarios where you can’t do these exercises before leaving home, you can do this as soon as you get into your office. No doubt, you’d turn up under a lot of stress by the time they reach office but taking a few minutes to breathe would help destress you from the already built-up tension and help you start the day on a better note. This exercise would help you start the day optimistic, plan your schedule efficiently and enable you to conveniently handle stress as you work your way through the day.
Irrespective of the mount hill of tasks on your table, don’t be tempted to multi-task. We often believe that multi-tasking is the best way to get more work done in a day, but it is false. With divided attention on more than a task, the speed of finishing these tasks would be affected as well as the quality of work. This is not to mention the effect of such pressure on your being; it is likely to bleed you out as you end up emotionally wrecked. Instead, divide the task, prioritize the urgent and important first, then focus on a task before starting another. You can as well delegate but do think out the task done off the list. It will create an air of progress around you and also fuel your drive to continue.
Sticky notes can’t save you time and a whole lot of stress. Be more organized, keep documents at appropriate places and use your pen to prioritize tasks rather than keeping them in your head. Being organized will help you manage time, maintain stability, making work more efficient as all clutters are kept at bay.
Be Clear with Requirements
Before delving head-on to a task, you should know the requirement of the task. Talk with your superiors to have enough clarity on what is needed; else, you might end up stressing over less important tasks when there are other deadlines to meet.
Avoid Altercations at Work
Although work conflict is bound to happen, you should try as much as possible to avoid it at all costs because it would leave you emotionally stressed up, affecting your physical demeanour and work productivity. Engaging in mindfulness has the benefit of keeping you aware of yourself, other team members, and situations, be it tensed or otherwise. Once you are aware of others, you get to know them and connect better with them; thus, you can settle differences when conflict arises.
Apart from the lunch breaks, you can also take short breaks, preferably after each task is done. These breaks will provide the opportunity to stretch out any form of stiffness. It can also give you the chance to take a walk or breathe so you’d come back more focused.
One other contributor to stress at the workplace is physical discomfort. We develop back pain, hip, and leg issues, becoming more vulnerable to stress because we sit on that chair that isn’t comfortable for long, working day in and day out. Get comfortable in your office space, find your way to the Admin/Human resource else your health and job suffer.
Know Your Triggers
Being aware of yourself can help you know your stress triggers, therefore enabling you to avoid them or curb their effects at all costs.
A Silent Ride Home
After the day’s work, you can roll down the windows of your car and feel the comforting breeze on your skin. Alternatively, you could listen to silent music, which can help connect your body and mind and restore lost energies.
These jobs pay our bills, but you shouldn’t go hard on yourself, else you’d end up physically drained, mentally low, and an emotional wreck.