Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice that so many people today are getting into—whether through paid classes teaching methods or downloading apps to help you tap into your inner peace throughout a busy work day.
Studies have shown that mindful exercising reduces the production of the stress hormone cortisol which can lead to fewer feelings of fatigue and anxiety.
Therefore, trying the following mindful exercises will help you efficiently achieve a work-life balance.
Since you do not need any equipment for these exercises, you can do them anywhere, anytime—when you are commuting to work to a spare five minutes that you may have at the office.
First, you need to raise your awareness by noticing what is going on throughout your day.
Focus on each part of your day by asking yourself the following questions:
● When going to work, are you texting when there is a red light? Drinking your coffee and finding the radio station at the same time?
● Do you reply to your e-mails when walking down the hall or street?
● Do you feel drained and tense by 5 pm?
Most people go through their day feeling exhausted, which can be toxic to both the mind and the body.
Being aware of your emotions, thoughts and physical sensations will help you in reducing the stress and distractions that may occur throughout the day.
For you to make choices for better well-being which is created by one breath and one moment at a time, you need to pause and recognize what you are doing and how you are feeling about the individual task.
Doing a body scan anywhere and anytime can help you be more aware of all your body parts. This scan doesn’t take any medical type of machinery. It can be done simply through your consciousness.
First, start with your head. Then, take your awareness down through to your shoulders, arms, torso, back, legs, and finally, your feet.
Is your jaw locked?
Is your shoulder in alignment with your ears?
If you haven’t had a break for four hours and have been sitting in front of the computer, this may be the cause of your back and hips stiffness.
Standing and walking down the hallway will help you in releasing the tension.
The human body is always sending messages through sensation and you may notice that you have been holding your breath without knowing.
This way, you can take care of yourself better and focus on the biological needs of your body.
Although we all have a busy schedule at work, you can take 60 seconds for your own for this exercise.
You can either count up to seven breaths which normally takes about one minute or set a timer for one minute on your phone.
Add mindful minutes to your calendar or even use other activities for your day such as waiting for your computer to turn on or walking to the water fountain to breathe seven times.
Three Breaths, Two Feet
Before you go into a meeting, send an e-mail or pick up your phone, pause and breathe in and out three times. Then, feel both of your feet on the ground.
This will help create a small space for you to reconnect with your attention.
Bringing your attention back will help you in making better decisions rather than reacting to situations in a way that you may regret later.
You can place a sticky note as a reminder in a place where you will often see it saying, ‘two feet on the ground, inhale, exhale’.
Many times, people will have their lunch while texting, trying to cram things, and replying to e-mails at the same time. Some might not even take a break at work for lunch!
Even if it is hard to turn away from your computer, just take a few moments or break to enjoy your snack or lunch.
Pay attention to the texture, taste, smell, and color of the food that you are eating.
Feel the sensation of when you are chewing and swallowing the food—you will enjoy the food more and in the long run, your digestive system will thank you. This can also be a great double exercise to help you control your weight by mindful eating.
When interacting with people at your office, make an effort of listening to what they are saying without drifting into your thoughts of what and how you are going to respond.
Pay attention to when you stop listening in conversations because you are nervous and impatient.
The goal is to catch yourself drifting away and tune back in. This will enable you to have stronger relationships with your coworkers, communicate well with them, and make everything much easier at the workplace.
Society tells us to multitask to get things done faster.
However, our brains are not designed to perform different things at the same time.
If we try to, we make a lot of mistakes ranging from sending a text message to the wrong person, misspelling emails to even colliding with coworkers in the hallway.
Multitasking makes the focusing muscles in the body weak.
Being in a state of distraction and divided attention can lead to stress.
Find a task that you can do with single-minded focus.
Start by turning off all the notifications on your phone and computer and close all the windows on your computer apart from the one that you are working on. This will ultimately increase your productivity.
If you think, see or hear a distraction, you may get the urge to divert towards it but instead, take a breath and go back to what you were doing. Start small and in the long run, you will be able to focus on bigger tasks with minimum distractions.
By doing the above exercises, you will be more mindful at work and your productivity and relationships at work will improve.
Be aware of what is happening at the moment and if you feel that you are drifting away, take a minute to breathe and bring your attention back.
Come back to your senses and feel every part of your body.
We hope that these small tips and exercises cans help you not only tune into a focused and calmer day-to-day, but also a more productive one.
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