Our jobs pay the bills, occupy many of our waking hours and can even give our lives meaning. They can also be a source of significant stress: tight deadlines, long days and difficult conversations. No matter what your job, work can be anxiety-provoking. Mindfulness can help.
In recent years, many companies — from Google to General Mills — have started teaching mindfulness in the office. Whether or not your company does, there are simple ways to reduce the impact workplace stress can have on your mind and body. Here’s a guide to get you started.
The Present Moment
Mindfulness — paying attention to the present moment in an accepting, nonjudgmental way — is a simple practice available to all. Research has shown it is also a reliable method for reducing stress, including at work.
There are many ways to cultivate mindfulness at work, from walking during the day to taking purposeful pauses when eating. One of the most reliable ways is simple meditation.
Work is Stressful, Find Focus
One way mindfulness can help is simply by allowing us to improve our focus. When we constantly flit from one task to another, the quality of our work can suffer. By practicing mindfulness — simply coming back to the present moment over and over again — we can train ourselves to become more focused.
The goal of mindfulness isn’t to stop thinking, or to empty the mind. Rather, the point is to pay close attention to your physical sensations, thoughts and emotions in order to see them more clearly, without making so many assumptions, or making up stories.