Mindfulness at Work
Welcome to MindTools’ video learning series.
It’s easy to get caught up in a web of anxious thoughts. But if you’re constantly dwelling on the past, or asking endless “What if?” questions about the future, you’re likely missing out on what’s going on right now!
Mindfulness enables you to focus on the present and to become fully aware of your thoughts, emotions, and actions without getting too caught up in them. This can be great for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can also help to improve your focus, creativity, and resilience at work, as well as your workplace relationships. So let’s explore how you can practice mindfulness.
First, try meditation.
Find somewhere comfortable. Sit in an upright but relaxed position. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Listen to how your breath feels and sounds. Notice what happens as your chest expands and contracts.
If your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to your breath. Aim to do this for at least one minute.
Next, take some time to observe the world around you.
You can do this anywhere, at any time. At work, on your commute, or at home. Look around you. What do you see? What sounds can you hear? What smells are there?
We all have busy lives, but this can often lead to us feeling hurried and stressed. Mindfulness can help here, too. It gets you to slow down by encouraging you to concentrate on completing one thing at a time. Try to focus all your attention on each task that you do.
If you get distracted, don’t feel guilty. Just notice that your mind has wandered and gently bring it back to the present.
You can be mindful simply by becoming more aware of small details when you’re going about your everyday tasks. For example, if you’re washing the dishes, take a moment to feel the sensation of warm water on your hands. Or, if you’re folding the laundry, enjoy the softness of the clothes. This can help to prevent your mind from getting caught up in anxious thoughts. You may even find that you enjoy these activities more because you’ve kept your mind focused.
Finally, accept your feelings.
How many times have you had thoughts like “I shouldn’t feel this way” or “that’s a terrible thought”? Over time, judging your feelings as right or wrong can lead to poor self-esteem.
So the next time you have a negative thought, accept it; don’t judge it. Remember that it does not define you. It doesn’t have to mean anything. Only you have the power to act on it or not.
To learn more about mindfulness in the workplace, see the article that accompanies this video.