Take care of your mind at work

Take care of your mind at work

Life is full of pressure, and it is easy to get sucked into the fast pace of daily life, where back-to-back meetings, presentations, and all types of chores leave us exhausted and overwhelmed. 

Go through this quick list and see if you have been guilty of any of these habits in the past week:

• Paying attention to your phone during engagements with others
• Eating at your desk without really tasting your food
• Being unable to remember what others have said in meetings
• Dwelling on your past mistakes or dreading what the future holds

If any of the above sounds familiar, you may want to start practicing mindfulness (if you have not started it yet!)

Mindfulness is nothing new.  To put it simply, mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism and means paying attention to the present, without judgment. Mindfulness often goes hand in hand with meditation.  It is well known that both mindfulness and meditation can alleviate anxiety, stress and pain and increase emotional intelligence and resilience.  

The best thing is it can actually be practiced at the work place. Here are some helpful suggestions:

Spare five minutes before you jump into your task list

Five minutes can make a huge difference in your day.  Before you switch on your computer and start reading your long list of emails, try to sit comfortably and close your eyes.  Focus on your breathing, count your breaths in and out. Try not to flood your mind with thoughts of upcoming meetings, calls, or other activities. This simple technique is excellent for those who wish to developer razor-sharp focus.

Clear your desk for clarity of thought

A messy space leads to a frantic mind, and this leads to higher levels of stress.  In order to ensure clear thinking, take a couple of minutes to tidy your desk.  Also, having suitable storage will stop the clutter creeping back.

While you make your coffee…

Be present when you make your coffee.  Smell the aroma and breathe in its deep and intense fragrance.  Listen attentively to the sounds of the coffee maker as your coffee brews.  Think of nothing else but that cup of the coffee.

Take a pause before you give feedback

Your colleagues or clients may give you feedback during a meeting.  Instead of responding to them immediately, take four to five seconds pause.  With this method, you let your colleagues or client know that you are listening to them attentively and not just waiting for your turn to talk.  They will feel that they are valued, heard and may be more likely to agree with your decisions.  In addition, giving a pause before shooting your opinion off reduces the possibility that you will react negatively to the information that was shared with you. 

Have a short break to get back in touch with your body

Take a 3 to 5 minute break regularly to have a little stretch, go for a short walk (even inside the office!) or take some deep breaths.  Make it a habit. When stretching, simply focus on the “action” itself and do not think of the next meeting, or your boss’ comments on an assignment. 

You may find these actions are trivial but once you start practicing, the benefits will be phenomenal.