“Mindfulness” has become an increasingly popular buzzword over the past year, with workers suffering from pandemic-related burnout and record high stress levels. But what does it really mean?
Mindful.org defines mindfulness as the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s happening around us. Sounds nice, right? Practicing mindfulness can help you stay focused, flexible, and think in a healthier and less stressful way, which helps to make your life at work easier to handle.
Every person already has the ability to be mindful – you just have to learn how. Here are a few of our tips for increasing your mindfulness at work:
Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment instead of operating on autopilot. When you’re consciously present at work, you can give your full attention to the task you’re working on, which helps improve your quality of work and makes it easier to stay on track. But a wandering mind is normal and natural, so when your thoughts start to shift to wondering what’s for lunch or considering the latest office gossip, what are you to do?
When you catch yourself beginning to lose focus, it’s important to acknowledge those thoughts instead of just trying to shake them out of your head. Recognize your thoughts and emotions, and then bring your attention back to the task at hand. I know, I know… easier said than done. But mindfulness doesn’t mean you have to be perfect 100% of the time – you just have to try to stay aware of what you’re doing and what you’re feeling.
Slowing down and taking the time to give your feelings and thoughts space might seem counterintuitive to working well. However, relaxing a bit can make you happier, healthier, and more resilient, making you more efficient and productive.
Anyone who’s ever tried to complete a last-minute project in a panicked rush knows how much your work can suffer when you try to get things done in that state. It’s just not good for you! Even though it might seem a little backward, slowing down a bit to refocus can put you in a mindset that allows for sound decision-making and action-taking.
This is probably not the first blog or article you’ve read about mindfulness, and you might even already be aware of all the benefits that practicing mindfulness can offer. However, if you’re not actively remembering to be mindful, even if you already know all there is to know about mindfulness, you’re missing out!
This might be the best tip out there for solid mindfulness practice: set yourself a reminder. Choose a time of day to set aside and give yourself a few minutes (even just 5 minutes can make a huge difference in your day!) to step back and refocus on your surroundings, your emotions, and your state of being. Take a few deep breaths and reflect, and we promise you’ll feel ready to get back to your work with a clear head.
Have you ever heard that people are far more likely to leave a review online when they’ve had a negative experience than when they had a great one? This is called a negativity bias. We’re more likely to remember and dwell on things that went poorly than the good things in our lives. Practicing gratitude as a part of your mindfulness is a great way to combat this.
There are so many things to be grateful for in a typical day, and taking the time to identify the little things that you have to be thankful for can help you focus on the good in your life, even when things get tough.
Mindfulness isn’t all closed eyes, crossed legs, and “ohmmmm”s. You don’t even have to meditate to be mindful! Taking just a few minutes each day to refocus on your intentions, thoughts, and surroundings and practice living in the moment can help you feel happier, healthier, and perform better at work.
Curious about other ways to boost your productivity and beat stress? Check out our #SAGEBlogs on beating burnout and what to do when work leaves you feeling overwhelmed.