Mindfulness has been shown to offer these benefits, which is why more and more companies are starting to notice. Aetna opened a Mindfulness Center, while Google and Nike offer relaxation rooms for meditation.
So, what exactly is mindfulness, and why does it matter to you on the job?
Mindfulness is being focused on the present moment. That means you’re not worrying about what’s going to happen tomorrow, or dwelling on what happened in yesterday’s meeting. This shift enables you to take a step back and make better decisions. It also enhances creativity, focus, and productivity.
The best part? You don’t need to sit silently in a meditation room for 20 minutes to become more mindful! You can get started at work right now with these four simple exercises.
1. Pick a mantra. Don’t wait until you log onto your computer to get your mind right. Begin your morning by choosing a positive message or mantra, and repeat it to yourself throughout the day. “Peace begins with me” is a good reminder that we are responsible for how we feel and how we react. “I am strong, capable, and ready” can keep you calm and focused before a big presentation or meeting. First, consider your inner goals… Ask yourself: how do you want to be in the world? From there, come up with a mantra in the present tense to honor it.
2. Focus on your breathing. Breathwork isn’t just for yogis.Slowing down your breathing puts you in a calm emotional state and is something that can be done virtually anywhere. Simply focusing on each inhalation and each exhalation can relax you. To take it a step further, try this easy exercise. Breathe in deeply through your nose to the count of three, hold for three, and release through your mouth to the count of three. Repeat. You can also try this with your eyes closed.
People who are stressed often forget to breathe, literally cutting themselves off from life.
3. Take a relaxing lunch break. Although it can be tempting to power through the day without getting up from your desk, it’s actually more beneficial to step away and relax for a bit. Get outside and go for a walk, or find a quiet place to sit with your thoughts (without judgment) for 15 minutes. Taking a deliberate break and detaching from work is a mindful way to improve your concentration, facilitate greater awareness, and reduce that afternoon slump.
4. Write a gratitude note. Before you wrap up, put a pen to paper and write down at least one positive event that happened during your day and think about why it made you happy. Something simple like “I got one step closer to finishing my project” will train your brain to focus on the positive. Gratitude has also been shown to increase mental strength, so you’ll be ready to tackle tomorrow with even more resilience.
Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can be a game changer. The next time you find yourself having trouble focusing, try incorporating one of these exercises to bring your mind back to the present. Remember, the more you practice, the more you will reap the benefits.
Shhh.. Off to meditation I go.