By Jennifer Kelly, Coast2Coast Training
Mindfulness involves present-focused awareness—a mindful individual is not ruminating about the past or stressing about the future; rather, they exist in the here and now, approaching situations and people in a non-judgemental way. Practising mindfulness at work can dramatically lower work-related stress, burnout, and anxiety.
For example, if a mindful business owner were leading a meeting with colleagues, they would be fully present in that meeting. They would not be checking emails or worrying about what others are thinking. Instead, they would focus only on the situation in front of them, paying full attention to others around them. This heightened awareness of the present can lead business owners to spot new opportunities—because they are alert and fully present, they are able to view situations and people more clearly.
Those who practice mindfulness at work experience several payoffs:
increased attention and focus
more meaningful relationships with colleagues
increased awareness, creativity, and innovation
increased clarity in thinking and perception
Here are three ways to bring more mindfulness into your workday.
1. Decide to be present.
Pay attention to what is going on around you and what is going on for you internally. For example, if you are writing an email, give that task your full attention. When your mind wanders (and it will!), simply become aware of this, acknowledge it, and refocus your attention on your email.
A good way to forge a commitment to being more present is to set a moment aside at the beginning of each day and make the commitment to yourself to be as present as possible that day.
2. Be a mindful tasker.
Separate your tasks at the beginning of the day and commit to fully focusing on each in a singular, mindful way. This single focus will not only help you produce more quality work, it will reduce stress because you will not be rushing through one task to get to another.
Keep a time journal for one week. Each day, record what you achieved in a block of time and then check off which tasks you did mindfully and which you did by multi-tasking. Which approach had you thinking more clearly and feeling less stress?
3. Befriend acceptance.
To be mindful is to accept the present moment for what it is, and this also means accepting yourself the way you are. Accepting mistakes made at work reduces unhelpful feelings when you are dealing with perceived failure or self-blame. Thinking you are a failure will only keep you mired in fear and self-doubt.
Accept a failure or a bad day at work. Acknowledge it has occurred. Take a deep breath. Now consider it from the perspective of having a problem to solve. Acceptance, rather than resistance, can help you devise more positive coping strategies to effectively deal with the situation or challenge (Alidina, 2018).
Mindfulness training can lead you on the path to greater business success. So go ahead—mind your mind at work!
Jennifer is a certified Positive Psychology coach and the co-owner of Coast2Coast Training (C2C), a coaching and training business specializing in workplace and personal wellness. Jennifer is also a certified instructional facilitator and designer.