Mindfulness At Work
By Antonietta Marinelli | March 19, 2021
In recent years, mental health has become a priority for many organisations and one strategy that is being widely employed to address this priority is that of mindfulness.
In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Everybody practices mindfulness in one way or another and what may be considered mindfulness to one person, may be different for another. Practicing mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment can be achieved through exercise, writing, reading, meditating or anything which calms an individual down. The benefits of practicing mindfulness include reduce stress, anxiety and conflict in addition to increasing resilience and emotional intelligence, while improving communication in the workplace (Crossland-Thackray, 2012).
Mindfulness expert Mirabai Bush states that introducing mindfulness into the workplace does not prevent conflict from arising or difficult issues from coming up, however when these things do arise they are more likely to be skillfully acknowledged, held, and responded to as the group will have developed the inner resources to navigate through difficult and stressful situations with more ease, comfort, and grace (Crossland-Thackray, 2012). In practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, the brain's ability to repair itself and grow neural connections increases.
The question is though, how can you effectively practice mindfulness whilst at work? To begin, take a step back, breathe and process. You can achieve this by doing things such as preparing your day by writing things down, knowing what meetings are scheduled or even checking in with other work colleagues or managers to ensure what is ahead. Outside of this, there are a few other ways you practice mindfulness whilst you work; both at home and in the office.
If you have a smartphone, then you have a resource to practice mindfulness. There are many great apps available (for free) which show you how to practice mindfulness, one of the most widely known and used is ‘Headspace’. Headspace is a remote app which provides you with techniques to experience the benefits of meditation anytime, anywhere. The app has guided meditations, animations, articles and videos, all in which improve your health and mindfulness (Headspace, 2020). Check out their website here: https://www.headspace.com
Work Space Adaptability
Another important element of practicing mindfulness is being adaptable, conscious and aware of your surroundings. Since the world hit a whole new era of adapting in 2020, individuals have had to transition from an office-space environment to remotely working from their own personal, home space. Being able to adapt quickly and efficiently means you can quickly acclimate to new situations and handle multiple demands. The more you practice and expose yourself to different ways of doing things, to learning and gaining confidence in uncertainty, the more adaptable you are (Stone, 2019).
Be Consciously Present
Mindfulness is about being aware and awake. When you’re conscious about what you are doing, whilst working in an office and in your own space, you’re aware of two aspects of your moment - what’s going on around you and what’s going on within you (Alinda, 2018). Remember to take a step back and look at everything you’ve achieved in a set amount of time. Let’s say you’ve allocated 1 hour to writing a report, let the hour pass and then have a look at how much work you’ve done within those 60 minutes. Each time your mind wanders to things that do not relate to that specific task, acknowledge your thoughts and bring your attention back. Make a clear decision at the start of your task to be as present as possible. Pause for a few moments before you start this task, and set this intention in your mind (Alindina, 2018).
Practicing mindfulness isn’t always easy, but with time it can be. A simple mindfulness practice can be as simple as standing up from your workstation and moving your feet and regathering your thoughts. Find a quiet place and focus your attention on your breath. Consistency is key, and consciously reminding yourself to take a step back is important.
● Alidina, S. (2018). 10 Ways to Be More Mindful at Work. Mindful - healthy mind, healthy life.
● Crossland-Thackray, G (2012). Mindfulness at work: what are the benefits? The Guardian. [Accessed 18 March 2021]
Read: Mindfulness At Work Benefits
● Stone, S. (2019). 7 Benefits of Mindfulness In The Workplace. GQR.
Read: 7 Benefits of Mindfulness In The Workplace