In the last Wellness Wednesday, we learned about key motivators for putting mindfulness into practice. This month, we take mindfulness to work, thanks to this submission from Katherine E. Soule, Ph.D., Director of University of California Cooperative Extension and Youth, Families, & Communities Advisor in San Luis Obispo & Santa Barbara Counties.
With a nearly constant influx of emails, phone calls, text messages, not to mention frequent meetings, many of us feel overwhelmed and that we don’t have enough time to be productive. Incorporating everyday mindfulness strategies into your work routine can increase your concentration, reduce stress, and increase creativity. While it may seem counterintuitive to take mindfulness breaks during the workday, focusing on the present moment can actually increase your productivity and, potentially your happiness at work.
Here are some suggestions for incorporating mindfulness into your workday:
• Start with a peaceful morning routine. When you arrive at work, take a few moments to prepare for the day without reading emails, answering phone calls, or jumping right into a meeting. Perhaps this means arranging your desk, writing down your to do list, or writing a thank you note to a colleague. Start your day with a peaceful task that will set the tone for the rest of the day.
• Take a water break. Take a few minutes to water your office plants, focusing on the sounds of the water pouring into the pots and soil. How do the plants smell? What do the leaves feel like? If you don’t have office plants, take a few minutes to drink a glass of water noticing on the sensations in your mouth and throat, as well as how the water smells.
• Connect with others.
When you talk with others (whether greeting someone after the weekend or in a meeting) truly listen. Don’t check your email or send a text, instead be present with the people you are communicating with. Taking time to connect and laugh with others can improve your satisfaction at work. • Remember to breathe.
If you don’t have time for a longer break, take a moment to breathe. Count slowly to three as you breathe in, observing how the air feels on your nose and mouth. Hold the breath to a count of three. Breath out slowly, once again counting to three. Simply noticing your breath can increase your presence and decrease your stress.
Incorporating mindfulness strategies into your daily work routine can be a helpful and calming way to improve your outputs while finding more enjoyment at the office. For more information about mindfulness strategies, check out the following sites:
• Jefferson University Hospitals. Mindfulness at Work
• UCLA. Mindfulness Awareness Research Center
• University of Massachusetts Medical School. Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society
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