The benefits of mindfulness exercises for people in the workplace are far-reaching.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how mindful would you say you are? For a lot of people, mindfulness seems like a “cool” idea but extremely unrealistic.
In your busy life, finding time to practice mindfulness may seem like one more task on your ever-growing to-do list. However, if you want to reduce your stress and get more done, living a mindful life is a necessity.
Are you ready to learn the benefits of mindfulness exercises?
Watch the video below where I share a 2-minute daily gratitude meditation:
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Practicing mindfulness at work has become the new craze.
Work-related stress and job burnout have become an epidemic in today’s world. Not only does it affect the bottom line of organizations, but it also wreaks havoc on the physical, mental, and emotional health of the people that comprise them. When you don’t work, nothing works.
In today’s business world change happens at such a fast pace. If you aren’t running around the clock, it feels like you are getting left behind. Becoming locked to a computer screen, working hours on end to hit unrealistic deadlines is something that a lot of people share in common.
If you arrive at work feeling scattered, guess how the rest of your day will unfold? Our minds are always working, moving, and thinking about the future. All of this hinders our ability to be present with ourselves and others. Stress will always exist, which is why it's vital that you have tools in place so that you can work with it, instead of against it.
The best way to live a happier, healthier and more productive work life is through mindfulness. A lot of big corporations have implemented mindfulness-based practices into their workplace culture after seeing the amazing benefits that it has had on their employees and their bottom line.
Mindfulness is all about paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, without judgment. In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, “The real meditation is how you live your life.” By being more mindful, you gain control of your mind, instead of allowing your mind to control you. As a result, you are able to respond to stressors more healthily and get more done.
Do you have a mindfulness-based meditation practice?
The problem that a lot of people encounter is that they don’t have a mindful minute where they can sit down and relax. The great thing about mindfulness exercises is that they don't take a lot of time AND you can practice them while you are working.
Recent studies have shown that including mindfulness exercises in your daily routine cuts down the production of the stress hormone cortisone and reduces feelings of anxiety and fatigue. Before you sit down and get ready to work, try some mindful breathing.
For 1-2 minutes, close your eyes and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your breath flow in and out of your body purposefully. Notice how it feels. This is a great mindfulness-based stress reduction technique.
Similarly, you can practice mindful awareness.
The purpose of this exercise is to cultivate a heightened appreciation of the daily tasks that you engage in. Instead of moving throughout your workday on autopilot, take occasional breaks where you stop and become aware of what it is that you are doing.
Be mindful of how you feel in these moments, without judgment. Doing so will allow you to connect with yourself and your work on a deeper level. Mindfulness is a choice. If you make it a part of your everyday life, your relationships, your work, and your mind will thank you for it. Here are seven ways mindfulness exercises benefit you in the workplace.
1. Improves Mental Focus
Your ability to focus on tasks is one of the most significant indicators of your success in life. Successful people are hyperfocused. We all have 24 hours in a day. However, the problem is that we live in a world where distractions and procrastination is the norm.
A lot of people have become obsessed with short-term gratification and shiny objects that take away their ability to focus on one thing. The result? Procrastination. Practicing a mindfulness meditation has drastically improved my concentration levels. I've found that the more often that I pull my attention back to the present moment, the easier it is for me to focus.
2. Reduces Anxiety
Anxiety sucks. I know because I lived with it for many years of my life. One aspect of anxiety is that it is so challenging to understand is why it exists in the first place. Trying to pinpoint where your racing thoughts come from can make your anxiety worse. In my experience, if you force yourself to control your thoughts, it only precipitates the symptoms of anxiety.
Meditation helps with anxiety by quieting your busy mind. Instead of letting fear take over your world, start quietly observing your thoughts through meditation. Anxious people often shy away from meditation, for fear that they won’t be able to sit still long enough to control their thoughts. I can relate. Back in the day, I wasn’t able to connect with the idea of meditation.
As a result, I didn’t practice it. However, once I forced myself to meditate over an extended period, I noticed the benefits of mindfulness start to take shape in every area of my life. Today, it is a core part of my daily morning ritual.
The benefits of meditation for anxiety have been well-documented. One study, published in the Psychological Bulletin, combined the findings of 163 different studies. The overall conclusion was that practicing mindfulness or meditation produced substantial improvement in areas like negative personality traits, anxiety, and stress.
Meditation allows you to return to your center and detach yourself from the stress that anxiety brings with it. Through consistent practice, I have been able to master my anxiety for good, and so can you. As someone once said, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
3. Decreases Stress
Mindfulness can also help decrease your stress levels by improving your ability to regulate your emotions. If you want to be a leader in any work capacity, you need to be able to calmly respond to stressors.
Maria Gonzalez, author of the book, Mindful Leadership: The 9 Ways to Self-Awareness, Transforming Yourself, and Inspiring Others, says that true leadership comes from within, a place of deep calm and focus, that allows you to respond to any situation as it arises. Mindful people come up with mindful solutions.
By consciously making mindfulness a consistent habit in my life, I have been able to make friends with stress. Rather than seeing the negative consequences of feeling overwhelmed with work and life, I now think differently about it. I encourage you to make an effort to always see the good amidst the bad. The only thing that you have control over is your mind. By using stress as fuel to achieve more, it will allow you to be the driver of your life, instead of the victim of it.
4. Improves Listening Skills
In today's busy work world, a lot of people don't have time to listen because they are so focused on doing a million things at once. One of the most significant barriers to mindful listening is if you are continually thinking about what you are going to say next. This is when a lot of information can get lost or misunderstood.
Do you seek first to be understood by people? This is a natural thing to do because you want to be heard. However, in the process of doing so, you may completely ignore what the other person says. Or worse, you may pretend to listen or completely forget what someone is saying while they are talking. In the words of Dr. Stephen Covey, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Listening mindfully requires that you pay attention to the message that is being shared with you. This is achieved by keeping eye contact, smiling, and asking open-ended questions. Why is mindful listening so important in the workplace? When people feel heard, they feel appreciated, and when they feel appreciated, they are more motivated and productive at work.
5. Increases Emotional Self-Awareness
Our minds are always wandering. Most of the time we act unconsciously, without awareness of what we are doing or why we are doing it. This is why it's so important to be self-aware and pay attention to what’s going on inside of you. Self-awareness is the ability to understand who you are and how others see you.
A vital tool for building self-awareness is tuning in to your body, which is achieved through a mindfulness-based practice. Daniel Goleman, a leading expert on EQ, explains that “Knowing yourself lies at the core of emotional intelligence, and the best mental app for this can be found in the mind-training method called mindfulness.”
When you practice mindfulness, you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. You learn to notice when your mind starts to wander and how you can guide your attention back to your experience. When it comes to the workplace, having a high level of self-awareness allows you to focus more effectively, better relate to your colleagues and clients, and more effectively manage your emotions.
6. Enhances Creativity
A creative work environment is one where people are encouraged to come up with innovative solutions to problems. In an ever-changing business landscape, creativity and innovation have become critical skills.
When you take on a new project that is extremely meaningful to you, it can be easy for your mental thoughts to get the best of you. In your desire for it to be perfect, sometimes it can cause your brain to get overwhelmed. Can you relate?
When the ideas don't flow, the result can be procrastination, limiting the ability to get into a creative flow altogether. By applying meditation to my daily life, I have found that it has drastically helped my creative process.
HBR reports that studies show people are at their most creative when they are more relaxed. Relaxation allows people to look at problems differently, using divergent thinking to consider a wide range of possible solutions. Because mindfulness simulates a relaxed state of mind, integrating it into the workplace could very likely support a stronger creative process among people and teams.
7. Improves Sleep
Do you sometimes struggle to fall asleep because your mind just won't shut off? Join the club. In our 24/7 digital world, insomnia has become commonplace for many people. Lack of sleep affects everything, including your ability to concentrate at work.
Let's face it… work can be stressful, especially if you take your work home with you. Long hours spent on a computer screen, especially at night, inhibits the busy mind from moving into a more relaxed state. You spend a large amount of your life sleeping, which is why you want to do the work to hack it as best you can.
Creating a consistent mindfulness practice before you fall asleep is a great way to help calm your mind, whether that's in the form of meditation or deep breathing. By focusing your mind’s attention on the present moment, you remove yourself from a “doing” mode of thinking. A powerful way to elicit a relaxed state of mind is to choose a calming focus point, like a mantra, to guide you inward.
If you create an evening ritual and are consistent with it, over time, you will notice that you sleep better. More importantly, you will wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to crush your day.
Mindfulness exercises can change your life.
The overall health benefits of mindful thinking are far-reaching. I encourage you to incorporate mindfulness exercises into your daily life, even if it’s only 10 minutes every day. It has been a game-changer for me. As Sharon Salzberg says, “Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it.”
You will be surprised how much calmer you will feel. More importantly, you will be more energized, focused, and productive at work. All of those elements create the perfect recipe for success.
The beautiful thing about mindfulness is that you can practice it anytime, anywhere. It's all about learning how to pay close attention, on purpose, to what is happening inside of you and around you.
Are you ready to hack your brain and get more done?
Do you want to learn how you can create an empowering morning ritual? CLICK HERE to join my Morning Ritual Mastery program!