Being busy is just a part of life these days, right? But being so incredibly busy with stuff to do that you forget to feed the cat, or ring your Mum, or wash, is definitely no fun (we always wash, FYI – that was just an example). Staying on top of things by practicing mindfulness is possible, and mindfulness at work is a trending topic, but what exactly is it all anyway? Let’s take a look, because anything that helps you manage your stress and stay focused is a good idea in our books…
So What Actually Is Mindfulness?
In case you missed it a couple of years back, mindfulness was a buzzword that was once all over the media and mindfulness at work apparently originated from the tech-heads at Silicon Valley in San Francisco, who wanted to create a way to switch off after a long day. Today it’s defined by the NHS as the conscious act of paying more attention “to the present moment, to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you” and it can help improve your mental wellbeing. It’s basically just learning how to be more aware of things by taking time out to just think, which in the process can help us feel more relaxed and enjoy life more. And the best thing about it is, you can take steps to practice it in your own life whenever you like, including at your desk.
Ok, Sounds Good But How Can I Actually Practice It?
There are loads of ways to practice being mindfulness at work (or beyond) and most of them are free, easy and can be done anywhere once you know how. Meditation is a type of mindfulness and with a pair of earphones, it’s possible to take some time-out on a train, after work or in the comfort of your bedroom to learn how to meditate with apps. Calm and Headspace are good places to start and teach you the basics of meditation and controlled mindfulness. They also include tools that analyse your breathing and graphics to help you concentrate.
Once you’ve mastered mindfulness on an app, you can then go ahead and try it without one. Picking a specific time each day to have some time alone with your own thoughts is a good first step; focus on your breathing, how you feel in that moment, the background noises around you, and the feeling of the ground beneath you. There’s no right or wrong way to be mindful, you can let your thoughts wander if you want, but try and stay in the present whenever possible. Mindfulness at work can help you de-stress but if you can’t get away from the negative thoughts in the office, the NHS reminds us that not everything that races through our heads has to be positive either. “Mindfulness isn’t about making [bad] thoughts go away” they advise, “but rather about seeing them as mental events… some people find it helpful to silently name them: ‘This is anxiety’”
How Can I Practice Mindfulness At Work?
It’s easy to practice mindfulness at work, once you know how. Taking some time out to live in the moment and de-stress each day (or whenever you can) has been shown to help students, workers and pretty much anyone! An article on The Guardian discussing mindfulness at work reveals that over time, those who practice it have more “emotional intelligence…empathy and self regulation” and they can also manage conflict and stressful situations better. (Hello to a calmer you). Mindfulness also increases the brain’s ability to repair itself and helps us make tricky decisions in a smarter way.
So what does this mean for you? Well, if you’re the type to panic over essay deadlines or dread those Monday meetings at work, mindfulness, when practiced regularly, could actually help to chill you out and make more rational, sensible decisions when under pressure. Forbes also note that mindfulness can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve memory (all sounds amazing, right?) So basically, taking time out during your lunch-break, or at the start of the day to meditate or focus on yourself can leave you feeling happier and lighter by the time you get back to your desk. Sounds like mindfulness at work might be the simplest way to create success…
Happy minding, guys!
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