What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention in the moment, on purpose, and without judgement. For example, a non-mindful lunch break may consist of you eating at your desk and scrolling through social media without really remembering much about what you saw, heard, felt, or tasted. A mindful lunch break may consist of you paying attention to each bite you eat. What is the texture of your food? How does it smell? Is it sweet, savory, or salty? What sounds do you hear? Are you feeling happy, tired, or maybe stressed?
The more we pay attention to our surroundings and our emotions, the better we tend to feel and the less we tend to miss (good or bad). When we pay attention to the moment, we are effectively taking a mental vacation by focusing on what is happening right now and not focusing on things in the past or future that are stressing us out.
Practicing mindfulness is beneficial in many areas of our life, including our work life. Those who practice mindfulness while at work experience lower stress levels, increased clarity of mind, improved complex problem solving and decision making skills, and an enhanced immune system. Companies such as Apple, Google, and General Mills have all implemented mindfulness programs for their employees. Read on for tips on how you can integrate mindfulness into your work day.
Check in with yourself each day
Before beginning work each day ask yourself how you are feeling. Are you feeling tired or alert? Excited or anxious? If you have a desk job, a perfect time to do this is after you sit down but before you turn on your computer or check any emails.
One of the best ways to practice mindfulness at work is to integrate at least 5 minutes of mindfulness at some point throughout the day (the more, the better). Either at your desk, or some other quiet space, take 5 minutes to shut your eyes and focus on your breath. Focus on your stomach rising and falling with each breath in and out. If other thoughts come into your mind, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
This one is more for those people who bring their work home with them each night. If you must bring your work home, try to set aside a certain time in the evening when you turn off the computer and don’t answer emails. This will allow you to focus your attention on being in the moment and spending more quality time with your family or doing something else enjoyable.