If you regularly feel stressed out at work with back-to-back meetings, looming deadlines and you’re in a constant flux of feeling in over your head; creating a mindfulness practise can significantly ease the knots in your belly and enable you to calmly handle whatever comes your way.
What is mindfulness?
Have you ever eaten from a packet of biscuits then suddenly realised the packet is empty? (Guilty!) Or arrived at your destination with no recollection of how you got there? We’ve all done it, and I’m sure most of us are experts on being mindless, so what does it mean to be mindful? Simply put; it means to be fully present in the moment, calmly acknowledging and accepting your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations with no judgement.
The technique is said to have derived from Buddhism, but don’t let that put you off as mindfulness is a therapeutic tool for everyone. You don’t have to be spiritual or have any particular beliefs to do it.
What are the benefits?
By becoming more aware of the present moment, we can start to enjoy the world around us. If you are feeling anxious before a big meeting with a client, bringing awareness to your thoughts can allow you to step back from them and start to recognise any patterns.
By those who have tried it, mindfulness reduces stress, anxiety and other harmful emotions. With the most common benefits reported include improved physical and mental health and general improved wellbeing. Not only that, but results published in the Journal ‘Mindfulness’ in May 2018 showed that participants who completed the course reported significantly lower levels of perceived stress, depression and anxiety.
Mindfulness improves our ability to focus and make decisions. This could be the tool which helps you stay on top of your game, and boss your demanding schedule.
A recent randomizsd waitlist control trial (RCT) by the University of Surrey, School of Psychology evaluated the effect of the online MBCT Be Mindful course on depression, anxiety and perceived stress. Results published in the Journal ‘Mindfulness’ in May 2018 showed that participants who completed the course reported significantly lower levels of perceived stress, depression and anxiety.
Download a mindfulness app and plug in your headphones whilst you listen to a guided meditation. Here at Truly, our favourites include Calm and Headspace. You can do anything from a quick couple of minutes to 20 onwards.
This is where you move your attention slowly through different parts of your body. Start from the top of your head moving all the way down to the end of your toes. You can gently note on any physical feelings of tension, relaxation, temperature, or tingles as you scan down the body. It’s an easy addition to your mindfulness practice.
Pop out the office for a few minutes to take a brisk walk and get some fresh air. As you walk, feel the breeze on your body, notice the surface of the ground as you walk and the muscles in your legs contract.
Three Minute Breathing Space
This exercise is quick to do, and an easy one to begin with when honing your mindfulness practice at work. All you need is three minutes and ideally a quiet space. If possible, consider booking out a meeting room for 5 minutes.
- Spend the first minute asking yourself; “How am I doing right now?” Focus on any thoughts, feelings and sensations that arise, and simply note them with no judgement.
- Spend the second minute focusing your attention on your breath. Take slow deep breaths through your nostrils and out through your mouth.
- Spend the third minute on the expansion of attention solely on the breath. Feel the chest rise and fall, and how your body feels when you exhale.
When you feel ready, resume back to your tasks at hand, hopefully feeling more calm, refreshed and focused. Remember; you can come back to these techniques at any point throughout the day.
Mindfulness works best when practised regularly. Gradually you can train yourself to notice when your thoughts are taking over and realise that thoughts are simply just that; thoughts, and that they do not have control over you. These a just a few ideas on different techniques, but remember that your mindfulness practice is unique to you, so choose what you find works best. The most important thing though, is that you will have full awareness whilst chomping down that last biscuit, and be able to fully enjoy every.single.delicious.bite!