3 Simple Ways to Add Mindfulness to Your Work Routine

3 Simple Ways to Add Mindfulness to Your Work Routine

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If you find your job to be stressful, you’re definitely not alone.

It’s no surprise that workplace stress is one of the most common causes of anxiety.   From project overload to endless multitasking, many people find stress on the job to be overwhelming.  Left to simmer, this stress can make work anything but pleasant.

The good news is that there is something you can do about this.

To decrease stress, you need to practice mindfulness at work.  This may sound difficult, but it’s really not.  Practicing simple mindfulness exercises during the work day can greatly decrease stress and anxiety and increase your overall health.

Research has proven this true.

More and more, mindfulness at work is becoming an accepted norm. In fact, major companies like General Mills and Google have added programs to teach employees mindfulness strategies.  And you, too, can add these techniques to your work day.

To add mindfulness to your work routine, try these three simple mindfulness exercises.

  1. Take a three minute mindfulness break.

We can be mindful at any time or in any place-work included. When stress takes hold, consider taking a three minute mindfulness break.

Just sit in a comfortable position, making sure to keep your back straight.  Your eyes can be open or closed. If your eyes are open, focus loosely on the floor a few feet in front of you.

Now simply start counting your breaths. Count “one” for the first inhalation – exhalation cycle, “two” for the next cycle and so on. Count to ten and then start over.

Do this for about three minutes. If your attention wanders and you lose count, start over with one. Set a timer on your phone so that you know when your three minutes are up.

Note that stress may rise as you try to slow down. If you feel this happening, say to yourself “I accept that I feel this stress.” Then make a conscious effort to relax your body.

 

  1. Try a short mindful walk.

 

You can practice mindful walking anywhere-from a short stroll to the coffee machine to a simple walk outside. Just set your intention to make this walk mindful at the start as opposed to simply taking a walk. And consider setting a cell phone timer so that you are not focused on checking the time.

As you begin your walk, focus on the breath. Notice each inhalation and exhalation. Next, begin to notice what’s going on around you.  If you’re in the office, notice what people are doing around you. You can also take a look at the details of your office décor that might otherwise go unnoticed. If someone stops to say hi, really listen to what they’re saying. Mindfulness extends to conversation.

If you’re outside, try not to cling to the sights and sounds. Just let them arise and pass. Are there birds chirping, or are you in a busy, trafficked area?  Is there evidence of the seasons? Being aware of all of these things can take the mind to the present moment.

 

  1. Do whatever you’re doing mindfully.

We can do anything mindfully.  Mindfulness is about developing the ability to maintain moment-by-moment awareness of the now.  Work included. When your mind wanders to stressful thoughts, practice bringing your attention back to the present moment. You can do this by really focusing on what you’re doing- right here, right now.  Sometimes, bringing the mind into the present moment is all it takes to reduce the stress of the task at hand. And remember that practicing mindfulness is like riding a bike. The more  you do it, the better you get.

For more mindfulness tips,  subscribe to the free Monday Mindful Minute. Offering mindfulness blogs, exercises and strategies, your Monday Mindful Minute will be delivered to your inbox every other Monday. Best of all, it’ll come before your morning coffee can even start to brew.

To your mindfulness,

Dr. Marchand

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