3 Ways to Be More Mindful at WorkNone By Jessica Cassity
Your job may be fast-paced, stressful, and full of potential landmines, from choosing the right seat in a meeting to knowing where to find the right data in a pinch, not to mention staying on good terms with all of your coworkers. That’s exactly why practicing mindfulness during the day can work in your favor, says New York-based clinical psychologist Alexis Conason, Psy.D.
“The foundation of mindfulness is an actual meditation practice,” say Conason. “But it doesn’t have to be about sitting on a cushion in front of a shrine. It can be as simple as sitting at your desk in silence for a few minutes.”
Mini meditation breaks are brief but worthwhile interruptions to the workday. When you take a few minutes to focus on yourself, you’ll be able to work better because you’re in a more focused and calm state.
“Often at work, we get so busy that we lose track of ourselves,” says Conason. You’re still feeling things in your brain and body—you just aren’t consciously processing or addressing them. But these feelings are still creeping into your day, often in ways you don’t really want.
“When you check in and pause, that’s an opportunity to ask yourself: What signals is my body giving me? Is there anything going on in my mind?” says Conason. “Be sure to check in below neck and above neck, including the physical sensations in body. Very often, the emotional state we are experiencing can also be felt physically as well.”
Let’s say you get an email first thing in the morning that makes you angry. If you keep rushing through the day, that anger might stay with you and influence your actions in ways you don’t want. You might snap at a colleague or grab a big handful of candy, all because that email started off your day on an angry note. By pausing and noticing the anger, you give yourself a chance to let it go, or at least become mindful about its influence on your thoughts and actions.
The same goes for deadline day, when you’re working through lunch in an effort to get things done. If you pause for a moment, notice you’re hungry, then take a 15-minute snack break, you’ll come back with extra brain energy and one less distraction.
“Our body is giving us signals all the time, but we’re often disconnected, which means we miss a lot of information,” says Conason. “This can lead to us acting in ways we don’t always understand. Our feelings are influencing our actions, but we’re not tuned in to see.”
Things like shoulder tension and shortness of breath are clues about how you’re feeling and what you need. When you take a few minutes to sit still and check in with yourself—doing a body scan while seeing what thoughts are nagging at you—you have the opportunity t