In our careers, most of us strive to be innovative and productive while being effective and efficient. Stress, pressure, and expectations can sometimes threaten our work performance and cause us to be closed off or defensive. By incorporating mindfulness into the workplace, I have found that it creates calmness, open-mindedness, positivity, and trust. Some companies that have adopted mindfulness programs are Apple, Aetna, and Google.
I like to find a couple of times in each day when I can take a break and do my belly breathing for 5-10 minutes or take a mindful walk. I use this time to pause my mind and body to stop doing and thinking and just be. I do these in addition to my daily mindfulness practices. This additional ten minutes a day led to small changes that improved my day-to-day workflow.
A change that I implemented through being more mindful at work was my morning e-mail habit. Usually, e-mail was the first thing I looked at upon arriving to the office. By doing this, I was making others tasks and needs a priority over my projects and deadlines. To change this, I turned off my e-mail notification pop up on my PC and I waited to check my e-mail until a couple of hours into my workday. This allowed me to focus and prioritize my projects and to tackle my most difficult responsibilities with a fresh, creative, and productive attitude.
Another mindfulness practice in the workplace is to create mindful meetings. Each meeting can start with a short breathing exercise or by sharing an optimistic affirmation. This helps everyone clear their thoughts and to be present in the meeting. It is also a good idea to ask others to not be distracted by smart devices and to only use them if they are being utilized for meeting purposes. Here is some additional advice from the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute blog:
Instead of jumping straight into meetings with technical conversations, start with a pause. Ask people to take a moment to just notice where they’re at. If everyone in the room is feeling wired and stressed, jumping straight into the meeting will naturally make the meeting feel wired and stressed.
Instead, take a moment to pause and point out where the group is at. If everyone’s stressed, just point it out. Do so compassionately, without blame. Naming the elephant in the room places the attention of everyone in the group on what’s really going on, instead of just barreling forward. This instantly makes everyone more aware of what’s in the present moment. Just this awareness can make a big difference.
Over time, you can influence others to be more aware of where they’re at emotionally and where their co-workers are at. You can train others to be more mindful, without even mentioning mindfulness.
My experiences of applying mindfulness in the workplace have made me more confident and resilient within my profession and with my peers. Being more mindful in my career has enabled me to encourage and motivate other team members and to problem solve without judgment or intimidation.
How have you become more mindful in the workplace? What were the results?
Remember to integrate a couple of “mindfulness pauses” in your workday. Please share your thoughts and comments.