What emotions are at the forefront of your mind during your working day? If you’re feeling tense enough to snap at the sound of your coworker breathing through their blocked nose, it might be time to take a step back and change things up.
What if there was a way to take control of your emotions, turn your attention from self-destructive spirals of negativity, and rewire your brain into a state of mind where your default emotions were of positivity and productivity? Spoiler alert: there is!
Here are seven simple mindfulness techniques that when integrated into your daily routine, could change the way you work.
1. Train your attention
A quick glance at social media or suddenly scrolling through news headlines has become a go-to distraction when we’re stuck on a task after five seconds. And with clients, emails and phone calls having the potential to reach us at any moment it’s easy to lose our focus. Practising mindful meditation retrains your brain, allowing you to focus your attention for longer periods of time.
2. On fire instead of burnt out
Professional burnout is essentially your brain and body struggling to deal with such consistent levels of stress that they become trapped in a corner where the only door leads to a breakdown. The scary thing about burnout is that in your own mind you might think that you’re doing fine…until it’s too late.
Mindfulness is designed to connect you with the present moment, pay attention to your body and emotional state so that you can see where you should be taking better care of yourself and know when you need to take a step back.
3. Check in on your mental health
‘Mental health days’ are becoming totally acceptable forms of leave in many workplaces. One in five Australians has taken time off work in the past 12 months due to feeling mentally unwell.
Practising meditation is like a daily check-in with your mind so that it can let you know that it’s fine and dandy, or that it needs some serious ‘me-time’ this weekend.
4. Combat irritating coworkers
Ok, so sometimes our own behaviour can be self-destructive… but let’s be fair, sometimes it’s Dave from accounts who drives us over the edge! It’s amazing how detrimental difficult coworkers can be to your daily wellbeing and being stuck with them for the greater part of your day doesn’t help.
Taking five minutes out to focus on your breath can help you to not only stay in control of yourself but to stay in control of the situation. Try to be direct with a coworker who is causing you grief. Calmly addressing an issue is almost always going to be a better option than turning yourself into a ticking time bomb.
5. Boost Morale
Do you ever feel like work is getting on top of you? Does it sometimes feel like you’re just spending your time travelling to and from work? If your days are becoming more problematic than productive, it’s quite possible many of your coworkers are feeling the same way.
Many of the biggest companies in the world (Apple, Google, Nike and AOL for starters) have introduced mindfulness into their daily business practices because mindfulness is contagious in the same way that stress is contagious. Bringing your mindful self to work each day could inspire your whole team to make a positive change in their lives too.
6. Stop your ‘monkey mind’
Your ‘monkey mind’ refers to your mind constantly chattering and swinging from topic to topic. A wandering mind is perfectly normal but letting your mental monkey swing around unsupervised can lead to decreased levels of happiness.
As unwanted thoughts are multiplied, they become tangled up to the point where you can no longer separate positive thoughts from negative ones. Practising meditation lets your mental monkey play but helps to keep it clear from thoughts and topics that are not serving you in a positive way.
7. Like a Boss!
If you’re a startup with five staff or a CEO with hundreds, you may be wondering what the benefit of your employees sitting about breathing might be for you? After all, there’s plenty of time to breathe while they’re writing up their respective reports, right? Well, no. The key to effective meditation is focus and awareness.
Mindful meditation, free of distractions for as little as five minutes each day has been proven to reduce stress and improve alertness, listening and decision-making skills as well as increased employee engagement.
Have a go at building your own daily mindfulness routine, or introduce one to your workplace and see for yourself how meditation can improve your bottom line.