It’s been said that mindfulness in the workplace can increase productivity and reduce stress. The question is, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a gentle effort to be aware moment to moment. It’s living in the present moment so all of your energy is directed to right now. In the present moment your focus is clear, ideas flow freely and solutions arise.
You can train your brain to be more mindful. It’s just like strengthening a muscle. Try the following exercises to become more mindful:
- Let go of past and future thoughts. If you let your mind wander into the past, you may waste your energy on regrets. If you think too much about the future, worries can drain your energy. Brief trips to the past and future are needed to deal with practical matters, but your power lies in the present moment.
- Accept the present moment. Accept the present moment just as it is without judgement so you can use your energy to directly handle the circumstance at hand. Mindfulness frees you from the tendency to react.
- Meditate. One of the best ways to cultivate mindfulness is to focus on your breathing. Breathe deep into your belly and follow your breath all the way in and out. Notice your belly rise and fall. Notice the air passing through your nostrils. Expect your mind to wander and simply return your attention back to your breath. Try it at work for 3 minutes, three times a day to transform your day.
- Get in touch with your senses. Notice the sounds around you, the temperature of your skin, and the scents in the air. Slow down to notice what’s going on around you in the moment.
- Practice mindfulness during routine activities. Be mindful in moments such as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, eating or walking. For example, feel the ground against your feet while walking down the street. Take in the small details.
Mindfulness trains your brain to be more efficient, focused and less distracted. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure, improve memory, lessen depression and anxiety, and is associated with increased athletic performance.
Working mindfully is a feeling of being totally in the moment. There is joy, ease, and lightness in your work. Whether you are working at the office, spending time with your family, or getting in a workout, strive to live in the moment by practicing mindfulness.