Continuing our look at Mindfulness, this week we are going to see how it can be used to combat the stress and anxiety of work.
Work is an important part of life – not only for income, but because it provides an outlet for self-expression and personal fulfilment. But despite the benefits a career can bring, it can also be a significant source of stress. Some of us find it hard to establish a healthy work/life balance, and this can lead to mind and body exhaustion. Exhaustion can make it harder to deal with life’s ups and downs.
In order to enjoy your working life and ease daily stress, we recommend incorporating the following mindfulness tips into your day:
A common source of daily stress is juggling multiple projects at once. While this may seem a more productive way to work, studies show that it is actually ineffective. Switching from one task to the next trips up the brain and takes away the ability to focus. Concentrating on one thing at a time can help you to focus on the present moment and improve your efficiency.
Set regular mindful check ins
Setting a gentle alarm to go off at regular intervals during the day will act as a reminder for you to step away from your work, pause and rest your mind. Aim for a mindful check in every hour. This will help you to refocus your mind and ease stress as it accumulates throughout the day.
Decorate your workspace with visual reminders
Visual reminders – such as a photograph of your loved ones or colourful images – can help to bring you back to mindfulness whenever you catch sight of them. You may even want to write yourself positive, mood-boosting notes and stick them to your wall. These will remind you to check in and focus on the present moment.
Mindfulness check in practice
When you find a moment to be mindful, start by taking a slow, deep breath and use this sensation to take awareness of your physical body and how it feels. Can you feel areas of tension? Feelings of energy or tiredness? Notice the environment around you (what can you hear/smell?) and how your clothes feel against your skin.
Next, turn your attention to your thoughts and emotional state. What thoughts are running through your mind? What emotions are present? Use this focus to open yourself up to the goings-on around you. Tune into the whole present moment and proceed with awareness.
This process can take as little as 30 seconds or up to 10 minutes – depending on how long you feel you need to pause and take a step back from your working day.
It may seem that this practice detracts from the time you spend actually doing work, but you'll soon find that a short mindfulness break will allow you to feel more focussed, more motivated and much more productive in you work. So why not give it a go and see where it leads you!
In our next post, I'll be sharing some great websites with you where you can find some guided mindfulness meditation downloads!