Would you try something different at work to increase focus and awareness and decrease stress at work ?
The good news is you can train your brain to focus better by incorporating mindfulness exercises throughout your day.
But, what is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.
Within the past few decades, there has been a great interest in the investigation of mindfulness as a psychological construct and as a form of clinical intervention.
The empirical literature on the effects of mindfulness on psychological health have concluded that it brings about various positive psychological effects, including increased subjective well-being, reduced psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity, and improved behavioral regulation.
Moreover Professor Felicia Huppert and his colleagues, She is the founder and director of the Wellbeing Institute at Cambridge University, have even found that teaching mindfulness to teenage students through a systematic aprroach can help to improve depressive symptoms, lower stress and lead to greater wellbeing. Her studies have also found that mindfulness-based interventions for adults have consistently been found to reduce self-reported measures of perceived stress, anger, rumination and physiological symptoms while improving attention and cognitive capacities that may help you to have a more positive outlook, sense of cohesion and overall quality of life.
So, here are some guidelines for becoming a more focused and mindful at work as Shamash Alidina and Juliet Adams said in their book “Mindulfness at work for Dummies” :
· STOP before beginning your day
Before you start your work for the day, take a moment to pause and observe. This might be a few minutes at home with a cup of coffee, a moment set aside before starting your car, or a short time at your desk before waking up your laptop.
Pay attention to your breathing and your surroundings. Notice the small things you normally ignore. Moments like these can seem unproductive for business, but experts say even just a minute or two of mindful reflection can help you break out of your old, unproductive routines, paving the way for more creative, focused work.
· Be Consciously Present
Mindfulness is, above all, about being aware and awake rather than operating unconsciously. When you’re consciously present at work, you’re aware of two aspects of your moment: 1) what’s going on around you. 2) what’s going on within you. To be mindful at work means to be consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state.
· Use Short Mindful Exercises at Work
In the busy workplace, finding time for a 30-minute mindful exercise can be difficult. But don’t worry because mindful exercises can be as short as you wish. Even one minute of consciously connecting with one of your senses can be classified as a mindful exercise. You don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down. Be creative about finding slots in the day to practice mindfulness exercises. The process helps to rebalance your nervous system.
· Not be a Multi-Tasker but Be a Single-Tasker
Nobody can actually multi-task. In reality, your brain is madly switching from one thing to the next, often losing data in the process. Most people know multitasking is ineffective nowadays. If multi-tasking is so inefficient, why do people still do it?
The reason was uncovered in a study by Zheng Wang at Ohio State University. She tracked students and found that when they multi-tasked, it made them feel more productive, even though in reality they were being unproductive. Other studies found that the more you multitask, the more addicted you get to it.
· Feel Gratitude
Humans have a “negativity bias.” Essentially, this means that you’re much more likely to focus on something that’s gone wrong than on things that have gone well.
Experts suggests that actively practicing gratitude makes you feel better and has a positive impact on your creativity, health, working relationships, and quality of work. Gratitude makes being at both work and home more positive experiences.
· Cultivate Humility
Humility does not mean seeing yourself as inferior; rather, it means being aware of your natural dependence on and equity with those around you.
How is humility linked to mindfulness? Mindfulness is about accepting yourself just as you are, and being open to listening to and learning from others. Mindfulness is also synonymous with gratitude, and so you appreciate how others have helped you. And someone who is grateful for the contribution of others is naturally humble.
· Accept What You Can’t Change
Acceptance lies at the heart of mindfulness. To be mindful means to accept this present moment just as it is. And it means to accept yourself, just as you are now. It doesn’t mean resignation or giving up.
Self-acceptance is embracing all facets of yourself—your weaknesses, shortcomings, aspects you don’t like and those you admire.
When you accept yourself, you’re then much better able to enjoy your successes and smile at your shortcomings.
· Adopt a Growth Mindset
According to Carol Dweck and her team at Stanford University researcher, people with a growth mindset believe that they can improve their intelligence and talents with effort. By applying themselves, they think that they can get better. They see brains and talent as just the starting point, and build on them with hard work and determination. People with this mindset have a love of learning and demonstrate greater resilience. Success at work depends on having a growth mindset.
Mindfulness is about adopting a growth mindset. When you adopt a growth mindset at work, you expect and move towards challenges, seeing them as opportunities for inner growth. That’s the essence of mindfulness at work, believing that you can improve and grow with experience, moving towards challenges, living in the moment, and discovering new things about yourself and others.
In conclusion you may not have time to try all of these tips at once, but the good news is that even just one or two can be a big help. Try practicing the tips you can, and see what sort of difference it makes. Sometimes just giving yourself permission to pause is the best first step.