Nowadays, everybody seems to be practicing and promoting mindfulness. Prominent firms like Google and renowned universities like Harvard are implementing mindfulness. In simple words, mindfulness could translate to awareness. The practice of mindfulness implicates paying attention to what is happening at this moment. Practicing mindfulness puts aside worries and judgments about the past and the future.
The current working culture presents stress as a badge of honor. Companies are asking employees to do more with fewer resources, increasing workloads and working hours. According to Mark Williams, a psychology professor at the University of Oxford, this culture is counterproductive. He expresses that: “We can spend so much time rushing from one task to another. We may think we’re working more efficiently, but as far as the brain is concerned, we are working against the grain. No wonder we get exhausted.”
Mindfulness contributes to our ability to manage conflicts and communicate more effectively. Mindfulness increases emotional intelligence, in particular: empathy and self-regulation. Moreover, mindfulness helps us control our emotions, allowing us to choose appropriate responses to events rather than simply reacting to them.
Introducing mindfulness to the workspace will not prevent conflicts or challenging issues from arising. But, it could definitely help the group to acknowledge, cope, and respond to those situations with more ease.
One of the multiple benefits of mindfulness is that it can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also increase resilience and emotional intelligence (as mentioned before). Moreover, according to several experts, the regular practice of mindfulness might increase the brain’s ability to repair itself and grow new neural connections. In addition, the practice of mindfulness in a working environment promotes and improves communication within the organization.
Should I practice mindfulness?
If you are wondering whether you are mindful or not, answer the following questions.
In the last week, have you found yourself:
• With no recollection of your daily commute?
• Eating at your desk without tasting your food?
• Paying more attention to your iPhone than to the people near you?
• Lodging on past events or thinking about what the future holds?
• Are you skim reading this article?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are probably zoning out and spending at least some time on autopilot. It would be good to incorporate mindfulness into your life.
5 Tips to Be More Mindful at Work
Mindfulness offers several benefits not only in your personal life but also in your working environment. Here are five tips to help you become more mindful at work.
1. Be Consciously Present
Being mindful at work means being consciously present in what you are doing while you are doing it. You give your full attention to the task you are doing without letting your mind wander about other things. To be more consciously present at work, you should set the intention and make it a clear decision of being present. Before work starts, take a moment to set this stamen in your mind.
2. Be a Single Tasker
Single-tasking is doing one thing at a time. While lots of people associate multitasking with being more productive, the truth is that nobody can do more than one thing at a time. With multitasking, what happens is that your brain is rapidly switching from one thing to another, usually losing information in the process. For becoming a single-tasker, it can be helpful to keep a time journal noting down what you achieved in a block of time and how mindful you were.
3. Practice Short Mindfulness Exercises.
Like any other habit, the more you practice, the easier it gets for your brain to be mindful. It does not mean that you need to spend an hour practicing every day. Mindful exercises can be as short as you want them to be. One minute of consciously connecting with one of your senses can be classified as a mindful exercise. Most people who try to be more mindful fail because they keep forgetting to be mindful. Set a reminder on your phone, and when you hear it take a mindful rest to be aware of what you are doing and your surroundings.
4. Be Grateful.
By nature, humans have a “negative bias.” This means that we are more likely to focus on something that went wrong instead of on things that went well. By constantly behaving in this way, we adopt an excessively negative way of thinking. Evidence shows that the regular practice of gratitude not only makes you feel better but also has a positive impact on your creativity, health, and quality of work. Writing a gratitude note at the end of the day is a great way to stay grateful. Write down at least one positive event that happened during the day; and how it made you feel, this will train your brain to focus more on the positive.
5. Adopt a Growth Mindset.
According to research, people essentially adhere to one of two mindsets. On the one hand, some people have a “fixed mindset;” they think that their basic qualities, intelligence, and talents are fixed. Those individuals hope for their traits to lead them to success instead of working on developing them. On the other hand, we have people with a “growth mindset,” in contrast with the previous group, people with this mindset believe that they can improve their traits and get better with effort. They see their traits as a starting point on the road to success. Mindfulness is all about adopting a growth mindset, giving attention to the present without judging your innate talent or intelligence, and being open to new possibilities.
It is essential to acknowledge that practice and consistency are crucial to getting the benefits of mindfulness. The next time you find your mind wandering around or having trouble focusing, remember to practice mindfulness to help you be more present. And remember that your working space should be adapted to you and not the other way around.