We're featuring a Mindful.org blog post by Shamash Alidina which was adapted from the book Mindfulness at Work for Dummies. Practicing mindfulness has many documented benefits and applying the principles of mindfulness at work can help you feel more alive and present and make you more productive! But how can you become more mindful in the context of a busy work day? Start with one of these ten practices.
Highlights from the Article
1. Be Consciously Present. Mindfulness is about being aware and awake rather than operating unconsciously. When you’re consciously present at work, you’re aware of two aspects of your moment-to-moment experience - what’s going on around you and what’s going on within you. To be mindful at work means to be consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state.
2. Use Short Mindful Exercises. Mindful exercises train your brain to be more mindful. The more mindful exercises you do, the easier your brain finds it to drop into a mindful state, thus optimizing your brain function. Be creative about finding slots in the day to practice mindfulness exercises. At times of excessive pressure at work, practicing a short mindfulness exercise can be a savior.
3. Be a Single-Tasker. Single-tasking is doing one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is trying to do two or more tasks at the same time or switching back and forth between tasks. Nobody can actually multi-task. In reality, your brain is madly switching from one thing to the next, often losing data in the process.
4. Use Mindful Reminders. Your brain’s normal (default) mode is to be habitually lost in your own thoughts - a low energy state, which is unmindful, almost dreamy. Doing some things automatically, without thinking, is fine but being on auto-pilot means that you’re not fully present and awake to the opportunities and choices around you. You can’t be creative, plan something new or respond appropriately if you’re operating mechanically. By using some form of reminder, you can be mindful again.
5. Slow Down to Speed Up. Mindfulness at work does seem counter-intuitive. But, in reality, being in a panicky rush leads to bad decisions and is a misuse of energy. Instead, pause, focus on listening, stroll rather than run, and generally take your time when at work. Effective leaders, workers, and entrepreneurs slow down and reflect to make the best decisions and actions.
6. Make Stress Your Friend. The next time you’re facing a challenge at work, notice how your heart rate speeds up and your breathing accelerates. Observe these responses and then switch your attitude - respond to your stress creatively rather than negatively. Be grateful that the stress response is energizing you and that the process is sharpening your senses and boosting your immune system. By viewing the stress response from this perspective, you see your upcoming problem as a positive challenge and recognize your body preparing to meet it.
7. Feel Gratitude. Humans have a “negativity bias.” Essentially, this means that you’re much more likely to focus and dwell on something that’s gone wrong than on things that have gone well. Gratitude is the antidote. Plenty of evidence suggests that actively practicing gratitude makes you feel better and has a positive impact on your creativity, health, working relationships, and quality of work.
8. Cultivate Humility. Humility is often confused with meekness or timidity but they’re not the same. Humility does not mean seeing yourself as inferior; rather, it means being aware of your natural dependence on and equity with those around you. How is humility linked to mindfulness? Mindfulness is about accepting yourself just as you are, and being open to listening to and learning from others.
9. Accept What You Can’t Change. To be mindful means to accept this present moment just as it is. And it means to accept yourself, just as you are now. It doesn’t mean resignation or giving up. Self-acceptance is embracing all facets of yourself - your weaknesses, shortcomings, aspects you don’t like and those you admire. Through self-acceptance, you can create a clarity of mind that allows you to work on those aspects of yourself you wish to improve.
10. Adopt a Growth Mindset. People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve their intelligence and talents with effort. They see brains and talent as just the starting point, and build on them with hard work and determination. People with this mindset have a love of learning and demonstrate greater resilience. Mindfulness is about giving attention to the present moment and not judging your innate talent or intelligence, but being open to new possibilities.
Read the full article here.
The Gifted Perspective
Adopting all or some of these ten practices will equip you to be more open to change, more resilient, and happier both at work and in your life in general! We encourage you to intentionally choose one of them to incorporate into your daily routine.
Are you ready to experience the benefits of mindfulness? We can assist you and your team in becoming more mindful, both individually and collectively.
Contact us today about individual leadership coaching or our Teams That Talk™ coaching approach!