by Ora Nadrich, author of “Live True: A Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity“
For many people, the workplace can be very stressful and not a pleasant place to spend their days. Time spent there is considered a necessity in order to earn money.
Today, however, workplaces are striving to become not places to dread going to, but instead, places to enjoy. One reason is that many are introducing and practicing Mindfulness, and it’s changing how people are working together and the environments they’re working in.
If at work you can communicate with your fellow workers or boss in a mindful and thoughtful way, it will encourage you to be more focused and productive, which is exactly what Mindfulness does. It teaches you how to be present in a moment with total awareness and bring to it the very best of yourself. When you make the effort to do that, you decrease stress, increase productivity and efficiency, and form a better connection with your co-workers.
Making simple Mindfulness tools available in your business can help employees become more present and observant of their environment and the people they work with. Teaching Mindfulness will raise the overall level of consciousness in the workplace.
Here are some Mindfulness tools to use in the workplace so that it becomes a place of positivity and productivity:
1. Start each day in the workplace by practicing Mindfulness.
This means you can begin with a simple breathing exercise, which will help with grounding and focus. A very simple Mindfulness breathing exercise is:
On the inhalation, (silently) count 1234-1.
On the exhalation, count 1234-2.
On the inhalation, count 1234-3.
On the exhalation, count 1234-4.
Encourage your workers to do this any time during the day when they might feel stressed or overwhelmed.
2. Practice “noting.”
Along with Mindfulness, noting is a very helpful practice to help employees become aware of what they’re feeling or experiencing during their workday. Noting means noticing or paying particular attention to something. With it, when a fellow employee or boss does something you might find annoying or irritating, instead of reacting to the annoyance you note what you are feeling and stay present with it. Having an awareness of how you feel, and noting it to yourself silently, you can either breathe through it or tell yourself something like: “I’m irritated or annoyed right now, but I don’t have to react to this;” or “I can tell my fellow worker or boss how I feel at another time when I’m not as affected by my emotions.”
Noting is not only useful and beneficial for self-regulation and non-reactivity, but it can also be used for things such as noticing how it feels when you’re drinking a cup of coffee or tea while you’re working. By feeling the warmth of a drink, or being aware of how it smells or tastes, it can help ground you and make you feel less stressed.
3. Take a pause in your workday.
Many workplaces are non-stop busy, and some have meetings back-to-back, causing employees to feel like they can’t take a moment to breathe or take a break. Find your pause in the busyness. That means taking a conscious breath and connecting to your inner core or place of inner calm, which can be your belly or heart. You will get better at this the more you practice it and can willingly grab a pause whenever you need one because you’ll know how important and helpful it can be throughout your day.
4. Bring Mindfulness into the conversation.
Don’t be hesitant or afraid to speak about Mindfulness with your fellow workers. Everyone can use a friendly reminder to practice it in the workplace, and if you or one of your co-workers starts experiencing or showing signs of stress or lack of focus, share a Mindfulness tip. Gently suggest taking a pause or utilizing the counting breath exercise. Not only will you appreciate the reminder if you find yourself stressed or slipping out of the moment, but a co-worker might thank you and may even offer to buy you lunch for your help.
Mindfulness is the perfect tool to help businesses run smoothly and effectively. By raising consciousness in the workplace, it becomes a more effective environment where greater success can be achieved on many levels.
Ora Nadrich is founder and president of the Institute for Transformational Thinking and author of “Live True: A Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity“. A certified life coach and mindfulness teacher, she specializes in transformational thinking, self-discovery, and mentoring new coaches as they develop their careers.