05 Sep Mindfulness At Work, by Mack Garland, LCSW
For many people meditation and mindfulness are almost interchangeable concepts to help us deal with stress. Part of that is true, they both help us deal with stress, but meditation is the art of emptying the mind; mindfulness is the act of becoming aware. We spend so much of our day pulled in so many directions at work our mind becomes less focused. We get wrapped up in our thoughts, pulled by texts and emails and we become unaware. In many ways we lose contact with the real world.
The following are 3 ways to practice mindfulness at work.
Take short (a minute or two) breathing breaks. We know that stopping what we are doing and taking several deep breaths slows the heart, lowers blood pressure and dramatically decreases stress. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, just stop what you are doing and deep breath for a few minutes, concentrate on the breath. Breath in deeply, hold it for a second and slowly exhale. Focus on the act of breathing. You will be amazed how much it decreases stress.
Mindfulness is becoming more aware of our surroundings. When feeling loss of control or you suddenly cannot remember what you were doing 5 minutes actually becoming more aware of your surroundings, not less can help gain control and more in contact with the real world. Listen to the ringing phones, people talking, traffic noise. Being mindful is paying attention and being aware of the here and now.
Lastly spend a few minutes doing nothing. If you are walking just pay attention to the steps, how the ground and the breeze on your body feels. When driving I often attempt to pay attention to a song on the radio all the way through (it’s harder than you think). With mindfulness, doing nothing does not mean clearing your mind, but purposeful concentration.