Workplace Mindfulness: What You Need to Know
"The energy of being aware and awake to the present moment" is how Buddhist monk and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Thich Nhat Hanh, describes mindfulness – and let’s face it, he should know. Mindfulness has come a long way since being the remit of gurus and yoga devotees, and is now rightly recognised as an important workplace tool to support employee wellbeing.
In fact, workplace mindfulness is now more important now than ever, thanks to our culture of constant connectivity and the distractions of phones, emails, text messages and social media. Practising mindfulness can enhance productivity, mental wellbeing, efficiency and reduce stress, as it enables individuals to focus and live in the present, while decreasing worries about “what might be”.
How to be more mindful at work
It sounds obvious – we’re all breathing, right? – but breathwork can have a big influence on wellbeing. During periods of stress, try breathing in and out deeply three times, focusing on nothing but the breath. Eliminate other thoughts and remain calm and in the present. If you have an opportunity to meditate, then even better. Put it in your diary to ensure it’s a regular commitment that you honour.
It’s easy to go through the day without really thinking about what is going on around you. However, take some time to recognise your team members’ contributions and express gratitude for them. This simple act can lift the morale of others and make you feel more grateful for your own work environment.
Work in the present
You no doubt have a huge to-do list and a million things running through your head. Pick one task and make sure you give it your full attention. Focus only on the action of completing that task and gently dismiss other thoughts – don’t worry about the future or past, or get distracted by other tasks.
Many of us will send multiple emails a day without really thinking about them. The next time you go to hit send, take a few moments to breathe deeply and consider what you’ve written. Does it really reflect what you want to say and how will it make the other person feel? Aim for each email interaction to ultimately lead to a positive outcome.