Five mindfulness tips for work
OK, we know the idea of mindfulness is sometimes easier said than done.
This might be because working from home has blurred the boundaries between your home life and work life, or perhaps you just find it difficult to switch off after a busy day. Either way, practicing mindfulness has a number of key benefits – from helping make you more productive to improving your mental health – especially when it comes to the workplace.
Why practice mindfulness?
It’s far too easy to get caught up with what’s happening in our life. Work, friends and family, or even current events can take up our thoughts and stop us from seeing the big picture. As a result, we don’t always know what’s happening with our bodies – not to mention how our thoughts and feelings affect our mood and emotions.
Practicing mindfulness brings you back to the ‘now’ and helps you to be fully conscious of what you’re seeing, hearing and feeling. Something which can have big benefits when it comes to your career (as well as your mental health).
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Practicing mindfulness has a number of proven benefits. For instance, knowing how you feel can help you spot the signs of anxiety and stress earlier, meaning you can treat it sooner. People who practice mindfulness also say that their health overall has improved, they sleep better and that their ability to concentrate has also improved.
When it comes to work, practicing mindfulness will also help you maintain focus and improve your productivity. Making it an incredibly important tool for anyone looking to take the next step in their career.
To help you find your focus, here are some of our top mindfulness tips for work:
Mindfulness tips for work
Practice breathing exercises
One minute of mindful breathing is a simple exercise that you can do at your desk, when you’re taking a refreshment break or just before you’re about to jump on a call that requires your full attention.
Mindful breathing involves focusing your full attention on your breathing and feeling the sensation that every inhale and exhale has on your body. The idea is that you breathe in positive energy and relax as you exhale.
To do the exercise, set a one-minute timer or count a set of 10 breaths. Inhale through the nose and exhale through your mouth. If you’re struggling to focus on your breathing, close your eyes and place a hand on your stomach to feel the motion of your breathing.
Take regular mindfulness breaks
The truth is most of us spend too much time at our desks, even eating lunch at our desk. Doing this can be detrimental to your health and lead to feelings of stress and burnout. Not to mention the fact that looking at a screen for eight-plus hours a day is bad for your eyes.
If you’re the type of person who easily gets caught up in your work and often forgets to take breaks, it can be helpful to schedule them into your day. Set an alarm on your phone or set reminders in your diary to step away from the screen, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
If you can, go for a quick walk outside or head to the kitchen to grab yourself a drink or snack. As you do this, listen to what’s happening around you, instead of thinking about the tasks ahead of you.
A break from your desk gives your mind time to reset, so you can return to your desk feeling motivated and energised.
Give mindful listening a try
Mindful listening is about being an attentive listener and listening without judgement. Listening and understanding what your colleagues are saying can improve your performance, productivity and make you feel more engaged with your work.
If you’re in a noisy environment, suggest moving to a quiet spot, explaining to the person that you’ll be able to hear them better. Or, if you’re on a call or video chat, use headphones to block out background noise. Be sure to face the person talking and maintain eye contact. With your focus on the person who is talking, wait until they have finished before asking questions.
Keep an appreciation journal
Mindful appreciation is feeling grateful for the here and now and not thinking about what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow. It’s also about being thankful for the small things that may seem insignificant but which actually enrich your day. This could be seeing the blossom growing on trees on your walk to work or talking to a colleague you haven’t seen for a while.
Keeping an appreciation journal is a great way to document all the things you’re thankful for. At the end of every working day, write down five things that you’re grateful for and why. At the end of the week, read through them to remind yourself of all the positive things that have happened in your life in the last week.
Take one task at a time
With a busy work schedule, it can be tempting to rush through tasks so that everything is ticked off your to-do list by the end of the day. However, doing this can make you feel anxious and it’s possible you won’t give each task your full attention.
Mindful immersion teaches how to focus entirely on the task you’re doing at that moment. For instance, if you’re reading an email, focus your attention on the text and its message. If it’s asking you to do something, in your head plan out the steps you need to take to complete the task.
By giving each task your full attention, there’s a chance you’ll actually learn more. You’re also likely to make better decisions and fewer mistakes!
More mindfulness tips
If you’re looking to take the next step in your mindfulness journey, we’ve got a great guide to some practical exercises you can try. Whether you’re practicing mindfulness on the way to work, in the office, or at home.
We’ve also got hundreds of online mindfulness courses on offer, starting from as little as £10. So if you’re looking for something a little more structured to help get you started, find out more today.
Looking for more mindfulness exercises? View all mindfulness courses now.
For more tips on practicing mindfulness, visit mind.org.uk.