Mindfulness practices that take less than 5 minutes: End overwhelm and stress at work

Mindfulness practices that take less than 5 minutes: End overwhelm and stress at work

How often do you face a tsunami of information at work? Nearly every day I bet.  You open your email to dozens of requests that take you away from your core work.  These emails flow in all day long – ping, ping, ping – asking for your time.  As your work piles up, you become more and more anxious.  You try to multi-task but you are still overwhelmed.  Your brain isn’t focused at all.

 

GRAB YOUR FREE EBOOK TO BUILD A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE AT WORK.

 

Before you know it, it is the end of the work day.  You’ve accomplished little on your to-do list and feel drained and depleted.

What would your day look like if you felt calm and focused even as that wave of information hit you?  Many people have decided to embrace the practice of mindfulness at work to help them address stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and a lack of focus.  You might think mindfulness is simply the act of meditation but it is so much more than that. Read on to learn more about what mindfulness is – and isn’t – and then look at 21 easy and practical tips to learn how you can apply it at work.

 

The Information Overload That Causes Our Mindlessness

Information overload is one of the major reasons many have turned to mindfulness.  We now take in 5 times more information than we did in 1986.  Every day, we process the equivalent of 100,000 words not counting television or online videos.  This means we digest the equivalent of a book equivalent to War and Peace every week.    Research suggests we are now bombarded with information equivalent to 147 newspaper articles every day.

  • The average American receives 139 business emails daily (and sends out about 40 emails) and spends, on average, 2.5 hours reading and responding to emails.
  • On average, people spend over 4 hours a day on their mobile phones. That is 86 hours a month!
  • Americans check their phones 80 times daily according to a survey. Meanwhile, 31 percent of people feel regular anxiety when they are separated from their phone.

The result?  Research now shows that people spend almost 47 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing. In other words, many of us are operating on autopilot. Information overload helps to contribute to our wandering minds.

With all of this information, people are looking at tools that help us process and digest this information more effectively.

 

 

GRAB YOUR FREE EBOOK TO BUILD A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE AT WORK.

 

 

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of non-doing.  The practice isn’t necessarily about clearing your mind or stopping thought. Mindfulness is about paying attention and noticing what is going on including the thoughts that might be streaming in your head.

Mindfulness is being conscious or aware of something.

  • You notice what’s going on around you
  • You notice what’s going on within you

So, basically, mindfulness is about being in the moment, focused on the here and now.  It is about being aware and awake rather than operating unconsciously.

 

Benefits of Mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness can help. And as you will see from the tips below, mindfulness isn’t just meditation either.

There are many proven benefits of mindfulness.  Here are just a few of them:

  • You make better decisions
  • You are a better communicator
  • You are more creative and innovative
  • You engage more deeply
  • You have greater resilience
  • You have positive well-being

 

 

GRAB YOUR FREE EBOOK TO BUILD A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE AT WORK.

 

Mindfulness in the workplace

Being mindful in the workplace means being able to focus – something that many of us have a deficit of in this world. Two skills define a mindful mind: focus and awareness. The ability to maintain focus and concentration is every bit as important as technical or management skills.

Companies like Google, General Mills, and Genentechnow offer mindfulness programs to their employees.  At work, one of your most precious resources is attention. If you can learn to harness and improve the quality of your own attention, you and your work will benefit.

 

6 Easy Mindfulness Tips

Want to incorporate mindfulness into your work day?  Read the tips below and then create a simple-steps plan to get started.

The first six tips below are super easy and take virtually no time. They are short exercises that help you rebalance your nervous system, reduce your fight-or-flight response, and reinvigorate the ‘wise’ part of your brain to become more calm, clear, and focused.

  1. Take a 1-minute break: Pause from work, sit back, and refocus your attention on your senses. You don’t even need to close your eyes. Just 60 seconds to realign your thoughts.
  2. Pause to do some deep breathing: Deep breathing activates the part of the brain which is used for judgement, reasoning, and compassion.  By contrast, shallow breathing activates that part of your brain which is focused on your fight or flight mode.
  3. Observe how you are sitting or standing: Take a moment to notice your posture.  Are you sitting upright or slouched over?  Taking a moment to become aware of your body helps you step into the moment. Plus, you might improve your posture along the way!
  4. Notice the mundane tasks: Give your full attention to those small and mundane tasks like washing your hands, pouring your coffee, opening a door, dialing a phone number. Notice your breathing as you wait for the elevator.
  5. Savor your lunch (or at least your first bite): You gotta eat lunch right?  Detach from work and take the time to actually taste your food.  Notice the texture.  Notice the temperature.  Enjoy your food with a mindful lunch.
  6. Use forced breaks to take a mental break: You gotta walk to your meetings right?  Why not use that walk for a 20-second recharge?  While you walk, notice the walk itself.  Take a moment to soak in your environment, the sounds, smells, and temperature.

 

GRAB YOUR FREE EBOOK TO BUILD A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE AT WORK.

 

Do you want to take mindfulness to the next level?

Grab this workbook for an additional 15 mindfulness tips and a workbook to put mindfulness to work for you.

 

GRAB YOUR FREE EBOOK TO BUILD A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE AT WORK.

Additional resources:

Fast Company: What It’s So Hard to Pay Attention, Explained by Science

10 Ways to Be More Mindful At Work

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