The pursuit of mindfulness shouldn't stop at your front door. Mindfulness cannot be confined to your off-duty hours. Any person hoping to be more mindful must consider how to incorporate mindfulness into their daily office life as well. The office accounts for a large portion of your day and probably an even larger portion of your stress.
Practicing mindfulness at work may seem like just another thing to add to your to-do list, but it can make dealing with the rest of that list easier. While these tips may not make you forget that you're at work, they will help you on the path to a calmer, more focused you.
1. Start your day with intention.
Before you allow yourself to be swept up in what needs to be done and the stress awaiting you, take a few moments to think about your day. What tasks do you need to do to be ready for the day? Tasks as simple as properly hanging up your coat, filling up a water bottle or checking your immediate desk supplies are a good way to prepare yourself.
Rather than hurrying to your desk and beginning your day with a harried search for a pen while on the phone, take time to intentionally begin working. If your space is orderly and you're prepared, the day won't seem so daunting.
2. Allow yourself to simply walk.
When you see people moving about the office, do you notice how many of them are looking down at their phones? Force yourself to simply move about the office without typing an email or texting a client. Focus on the movement of your body and the sensations you experience. Multitasking is often inefficient and results in mistakes.
Get in the habit of paying attention to your surroundings and appreciating the brief break that walking to a meeting affords you. You can't properly greet co-workers or notice the sunlight streaming through the windows if your eyes are glued to your screen. You'll notice more about your surroundings and reduce the risk of missing an unfortunate autocorrect to your boss.
3. Treat your lunch break as a break.
Treat your lunch as an actual break in your day rather than a time to stuff food in your mouth while answering emails. Even if you only use 10 minutes of your lunch for actual eating, force yourself to do nothing but enjoy your lunch and the sensation of eating for those 10 minutes.
Being mindful is about paying attention to the task at hand. You'll give yourself a much-needed break in your day and become more aware of how you're nourishing your body. Paying attention to your food choices and the amount you eat are obviously helpful to your health, but they also benefit your mind.
4. Take breathing breaks.
Don't forget the power of breathing breaks. Of course, you breathe at work all the time, but take a moment at your desk to really pay attention to your breathing. Sit up straight, and let your only focus be on the act of breathing. Inhale deeply, pulling breath from the diaphragm, and then slowly exhale, drawing it out longer than your inhalation.
Even just for a minute or two, this breathing can result in a powerful, mind-clearing calm. Doing this when you begin to feel stressed will renew your mind and allow you to conquer the task more efficiently because your mind will feel clearer.
5. Examine the stress that you feel.
When you are feeling stressed, try to take a step back and analyze it rather than give in to it. If you consider the root of the stress, you may find a better way to deal with it that won't result in as much anxiety.
Perhaps you'll find that you consistently overbook your afternoons because you are not a morning person, but the stress of those afternoons is what is leading to poor sleep and difficult mornings. Maybe you'll find that your desire for perfectionism is what is resulting in procrastination and panic.
While some stress is unavoidable, much of it can be prevented if you distance yourself from the immediate emotional response. Practice distancing yourself from these stressors so that you can determine a way to reduce or negate the stress and allow yourself to move forward with your work. You may find the solution is as simple as asking a co-worker for help or altering your usual pattern of client meetings. Little changes can make a big difference.
6. Practice active listening.
Listening is especially difficult when multitasking is involved. If you frequently struggle to remember what your boss just told you or can't recall the client's most recent feedback, there is a good chance that your overly active brain is multitasking while you are trying to listen.
Instead of passively listening, try to actively follow every word that is said to you. Learning to pay attention to people means listening to more than just the words they are saying, but also trying to understand their point of view.
More active listening can lead to better understanding and an increase in empathy. Improving communication is an effective way to become more aware of your surroundings. It can make you more mindful at work and in turn make you better at your job.
7. Take a break from your smartphone.
Smartphones are now a staple of our daily lives. But although they bring many conveniences and efficiencies into our day, they can be detrimental to our overall sense of wellbeing. Smartphones emit artificial frequencies that can interfere with the natural protective frequencies of the earth. This interference can make you feel anxious and distract you from your mindfulness practice.
One way to combat these artificial frequencies is to wear a Philip Stein wellness bracelet or watch. These wellness wearables are enabled with Philip Stein's new Natural Frequency Technology that can help you restore balance and bring you back in tune with the earth's natural rhythm. When worn at night, the sleep bracelet can help you sleep more soundly so you can wake up feeling more refreshed.
8. End your day with intention.
Just as you should begin your day with intention, so too should you end it. If you strive for a healthy divide between your personal and work life, it is advisable to keep them separate. This means that you leave work at the office, and that work should be left at the office properly. Leave your desk area cleared and organized. Put the pens back in the cup and throw away any trash.
An easy way to mindfully signal the end of the day to yourself is to make a short to-do list for when you return. This allows you to get down on paper (or screen) what you are concerned about or what to tackle first. You will also have a plan for the next day and free your mind a bit. Taking a few minutes to intentionally end your day in the office will make it that much easier to return to work and feel purposeful and ready for the day ahead.