Mindfulness is a practice that has many benefits for both our personal and professional lives. Multiple studies have shown how mindfulness can help us build better relationships, manage stress and anxiety, and even improve our physical health and mental capabilities. Unlike many other meditative techniques, mindfulness doesn’t need to be practiced over long, dedicated periods of time. Just 15 minutes a day, every day, will have a positive impact on your overall mental and physical well-being. Along with helping us in our personal lives, mindfulness can help us at work. The practice become part of our daily 9 - 5 routines with a little effort and a lot to gain, both for you and your employer. Below are three tips on how to incorporate mindfulness into work-life each day.
1 | Practice Gratitude
Most of us have a natural negativity bias, making us likely to dwell on painful or hurtful experiences for longer than happy, pleasurable experiences. It is thought this stems from our need to be aware of dangers and threats to survive as prehistoric people.
While it worked millennia ago, today negativity can become a serious problem for our health and wellbeing if left unchecked. Negative feelings can lead to some serious health issues. As they’re often difficult to pinpoint as the cause of trouble, doctors could potentially misdiagnose patients, leading to expensive medical negligence cases. Gratitude makes us feel better and positively impacts creativity, health, relationships, and the quality of our work. Gratitude is one of the natural antidotes for our negativity bias.
If you are unhappy at work, before looking for a new role, try thinking about what is going right for you. Your regular paycheck, contact with colleagues who have grown to be friends, challenge of learning something new, or the great coffee shop down the street are all things you can feel gratitude for. You may still end up looking for a new job, but it will be done with a better perspective and appreciation of what you do and don’t want in your next role.
Even if you are relatively comfortable during your working day, it’s important to stop and appreciate and give thanks for the big and small things. This can either be done silently or aloud to those who are responsible for them. Expressing gratefulness will make your day more positive and improve your resilience for those not-so-great days when everything seems to go wrong.
2 | Tackle One Task At A Time
Multi-tasking or getting more than one task completed to a quality standard simultaneously is simply not possible. It can frequently feel like focusing on one task is a waste of time, especially when you have calls to return, emails to read, and a report to hand in.
The fact is, trying to do more than one thing at a time sends your brain into a spin. When you’re madly switching to and from differing thoughts, you often lose the thread of all tasks relatively quickly. This increases your chances of mistakes, like voicing the urgent email you’re writing down over the phone to a client, or dropping the wrong figures into that all-important report.
Switch off distractions and bundle tasks into categories. For example, deal with all your emails at once or complete all work for one account before moving onto another. Practice mindfulness in between tasks by stretching, focusing on breathing for a minute or two, and mentally preparing for the next task. You should notice your productivity increase as you calmly tackle one job at a time.
3 | Develop a Growth Mindset
Carol Dweck of Stanford University tells us that people are principally one of two mindsets. The first is growth mindsets, in which they believe they can learn and develop new skills, resilience, and understandings. The second is referred to as fixed mindsets, in which talent, intelligence, and the ability to understand new concepts are immutable.
Fortunately, it’s those with growth mindsets who are correct. Brain scans show that effort and perseverance lead to development of innate talent. Recent research shows us that we can actually stimulate brain growth well into adulthood with a variety of techniques, one of which is meditation.
Mindfulness meditations will not only help you grow your brain, but also aid the development of a growth mindset by giving attention to the present moment and suspending judgement on yourself and others.
Mindfulness helps you connect with all the moments that make up your life, appreciating the good experiences and learning from the negative ones. This is beneficial for both our personal and professional lives, bringing us happiness and success in a range of areas and reducing overall stress and anxiety levels. So practice some mindful meditation of your own today to discover the positive benefits for your psyche at work.
about the author
Rae is a freelance editor at The Rothenberg Law Firm, LLP. She is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing (of course).