Swap stress for calm: Everyday mindfulness work practices28 May 2019
Have you ever found yourself becoming more and more wound up as a day progresses? I often have. Yet, when I’ve taken a moment to wonder where the stress is arising from, I’ll find somewhere along the way my thoughts have snowballed into feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
This is where everyday mindfulness helps. Taking a moment to slow down and free yourself from your thoughts brings perspective and calm into your day.
1. Focus on a single task at a time
Mindfulness is about being in the present and paying attention to what is happening around you. Switching between multiple tasks and trying to keep track of what you’re doing isn’t conducive for a mindful state.
Instead, try blocking out your time and focusing on one project at a time. Not only is this a great time management technique, it allows you to settle your mind and become more present in what you are doing.
2. Follow your breath
Regularly throughout the day, take the time to feel your breath passing through you. Follow the air in and down to your lungs, the brief catch and then the release. Notice the moment your lungs empty and the beginning of the next inhalation.
This sounds simple enough to do, but if you’re anything like me the struggle will come with trying to remember to do it. One of the methods I employ is using a checklist. Every time I cross something off it, I use it as a reminder to focus on a few breaths before proceeding onto the next task. Alternatively, you can set notifications on your phone at regular intervals to prompt you.
3. Use white noise
Working in a busy or open office is often distracting. With so much happening around you, it can feel like you’re being overloaded with input. If you need to slow down and clear your brain, try using white noise to help you.
White noise assists in cancelling out any other auditory distractions, leaving you free to breathe and become more settled in the moment.
4. Notice sensations
Every now and then, stop and pay attention to the sensations you are experiencing. How often do you notice the feeling of clothes against your skin, or how your feet connect with the ground as you walk?
I find this simple connection to my own experiences. Especially ones that I’ve always taken for granted, help to ground me in the moment and brings more appreciation to my day. We tend to miss so much of what is actually happening around us due to our brains being too busy or because big moments steal our attention. Simply noticing sensations helps create a more mindful state throughout the day.
5. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful tool. It helps you focus on the positives and take notice of the good things happening around you.
It’s easy to dwell on what goes wrong, or the things you need to fix and do. Practising gratitude throughout your day aids in breaking you out of this mindset so you see what’s actually happening, rather than letting the negatives skew your viewpoint. It also assists in changing your long-term perspective and reduces any feeling of stress you’re experiencing.
6. Take a walk
In the afternoon, when my brain is beginning to feel crowded, I take a short walk. My aim is to relax, get fresh air and focus on the present. I like to feel my muscles loosen, while my mind softens and lets go of the day’s stresses.
A brief five-minute outing everyday allows you to just be. You can let everything wash over you, from the movement of your muscles, to the play of light on the sidewalk and the noise of the people moving around you. If someone pushes in front of you, notice the fleeting moment of frustration you feel. Should you spot something that makes you happy, let the emotion wash through you.
If you’d like to know more about mindfulness at work, reach out to the team at ICML today. We can help you bring more calm into your office through mindfulness training, whether you’re in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.