We spend around one-third of our week working, so it’s important to take care of ourselves at work as well as at home. Being mindful during your workday is a good way of caring for your mental health.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is relatively new to the western world however it has been practised for thousands of years in eastern society. Mindfulness can be developed by training yourself to pay attention in a certain way. When you are mindful, you are focused on the current moment rather than thinking of something in the past or future. You know what is going on around you and aren’t judgemental about things being ‘good or bad’.
Why You Should be Mindful at Work
By practising mindfulness at work, you are giving your full attention to the task at hand rather than letting your mind wonder to positive or negative memories. Your speed and quality of work are higher when you are concentrating on one item because your brain isn’t having to multi-task.
Dwelling on negative thoughts can impact on your personality and positivity and be noticed by your colleagues. You are more likely to feel good about the job you are doing if you are giving 100% of your attention.
Combat the Stress of Work
If you have a heavy workload or constant deadlines, you are at risk of feeling stressed at work. Consistent high levels of stress can lead to anxiety, depression, poor sleep habits, muscle aches, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
You can reduce the stress of your job by being mindful and concentrate on completing one task at a time. If you have a report due on Friday, think only about the task in front of you. Once that work is complete, put it out of your mind and then start thinking about your report. If your brain isn’t constantly worrying about how long the to-do list is, you will tick off your tasks sooner because they’re easier to complete with an uncluttered brain.
If you feel your stress levels build, recognise the symptoms and do something that encourages you to be more relaxed. Take a walk around the block, get yourself a drink or talk to a colleague. Be mindful of how stress affects you and the methods that work best for reducing your stress.
Mindful During Breaks
We all know the importance of leaving your computer screen when you have your lunch but are you mindful during your breaks at work?
It’s easy to go out to lunch and spend the time thinking about your next meeting or your afternoon’s list of jobs. Instead switch your mind off work completely. Give your brain a rest and think of something different.
On your walk take notice of the environment around you such as the changing leaves or the new building going up. Do something you enjoy such as reading a novel in the park or window shopping and concentrate on what you are looking at rather than letting your mind wander. Meet a friend for lunch and give them your full attention.
Away From Work
Just as important as it is to be mindful at work, you need to be mindful when you are away from the office. Try not to dwell on unfinished work or a mistake you made. Don’t worry about what a colleague thinks of you. Be mindful at home during the evenings and weekends, so you can enjoy time spent with your family being present in the moment.
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