World Mental Health Day: 8 ways to be more mindful at work
As you read this 1 in 4 of your colleagues are affected by some form of mental health condition be that anxiety, depression or stress. Perhaps this is even you. The fact is for most of us, out of all the pressures you’re under each day, your working day is by far the most damaging to your mental health.
So what can you do about it?
Mindfulness is one resource that can really help you build your resilience to stress and significantly improve your emotional intelligence.
Think of Mindfulness as knowing what’s happening in any given moment and being ok with it. Practising mindfulness and working mindfully will, in time, dramatically improve your ability to manage stressful situations; relate to your colleagues more effectively; enable you to focus more and as a result, even improve your productivity. Not to mention the effect this will also have on improving your life at home too.
That’s powerful stuff.
When we practice Mindfulness, the grey matter in our brains actually grows and the part of our brain that reacts so badly to stress, shrinks. Consider it a workout for your mind if you will, with gentle practise every day, in time you will look, feel and act completely different.
To help you get started, here are a few tips you can be more mindful at work now:
- Be mindful on the commute to work - instead of driving and missing the journey, look out the window and notice the different areas and landscapes you drive through. If you’re travelling on the tube or train, instead of reading your newspaper, look up, look around, listen and observe. There is so much to see, hear and notice, I think you’ll be amazed!
- When you turn your computer on in the morning, instead of rushing off to make your coffee, tea or cappuccino, try simply sitting there quietly. Listening to the sounds, taking in the morning atmosphere and feeling the seat beneath you whilst you breathe and notice.
- Having a clear and tidy workspace is a powerful tool so stop what you’re doing now and get tidying, you’ll feel better straight away.
- Have a plant or some flowers on your desk, something that is alive and that you can focus on when you’re starting to feel stressed. Look at the plant, notice all it’s details, smell the flowers and see them as if seeing them for the first time.
- Every time the phone rings or you get a new email, use it as a reminder to pause and take a breathe. Before you even check to see who the email is from, take one or maybe three deep breaths, feel the stillness then you’re ready to handle whatever comes your way. One deep breathe is all it takes to centre yourself self and get into an alert, peak state for what you were a moment ago, perhaps dreading
- Have a picture of something that makes you smile. That could be of your family or perhaps a landscape on the wall. Use this to transport you to a different place when things start to get too much.
- When you’re on route to a client, even if it’s a 5 minute walk, try not to look at your phone, instead notice the buildings around you, feel the ground beneath you and allow the noises to be
- Just before you get home to your family, give yourself a few moments in your car or before you open the door. Settle into your breathe and gently notice what you’re thinking and feeling and then in time, allow yourself to think about what you can learn from it.
By Emma Fairclough, Soulcy
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