28-year-old Anaisha has found herself in a very tight spot. While she loves her job as an app developer, her current workload has increased tremendously. Anaisha also has a lengthy work commute. As a result of which, she feels she is zoning out on a regular basis. She is unable to recall what others tell her during conversations. During lunch or break time, she eats at her desk without tasting her food. She is too addicted to her mobile phone. And she often dwells on past events or fears the future.
You do understand the head-space Anaisha is in.
A stressful work environment is detrimental to our mental health. Juggling between different tasks does exhaust our minds. Which is why we find ourselves operating on the autopilot mode often. All we need is an effective technique to help us center ourselves, focus better at work, and bring balance in all aspects of our lives.
The good news is that you can train your mind to do the above by practicing mindfulness. So, let’s understand how can we be more mindful at work.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means being present in the now. It is a tool to develop mindful understanding and attitudes to create more self-awareness. Mindfulness allows you to pay attention to the present moment without forming any judgment. As Jon Kabat Kin, the father of mindfulness, once said, it is about, “showing up fully in our lives” and living them, “as if they really mattered in the only moment we ever get, which is this one”.
Why do you need it at work?
Think about it: You will be able to create immense value in your work only if you’re happy and motivated. A more resilient and compassionate approach will help you to build better relations at work. Mindfulness enables you to become such a person.
It helps you to:
· Improve your decision-making skills
· Build stronger teams and leaders
· Enhance interpersonal relations with colleagues and stakeholders
· Have effective communication skills
· Be more confident around change
· Be more productive and creative
How mindful are you?
So, let’s learn how mindful you are. Take a pen and paper and score yourself for each of the following 14 sentences, on a scale of 5, where 1 = Always and 5 = Never:
1. I could be experiencing some emotion but may come to know of it later.
2. I break or spill things out of carelessness or lack of attention.
3. I am unable to focus on the now.
4. I tend to walk quickly without paying attention to my surroundings.
5. I am unable to notice feelings of physical tension or discomfort until they really grab my attention.
6. I tend to forget names as soon as I’ve heard them for the first time.
7. I am operating on the autopilot mode.
8. I am working mechanically without paying much attention to details.
9. I get so engrossed in achieving a goal that I lose touch with my present.
10. I find myself listening to someone and working on something at the same time.
11. I drive places on ‘automatic pilot’ and then wonder what made me visit them.
12. I find myself obsessed with my past or future.
13. I am doing things without paying attention.
14. I snack without being aware of the fact that I am eating.
The math is simple. The more you score, the more mindful you are. If you wish you improve your score, you could adopt the following mindfulness methods in your daily life.
Some mindfulness techniques
The interesting part is that you don’t need to meditate in a conference or meeting room to become more mindful. Here are four simple ways to get you started:
§ Practice affirmations or chant mantras
§ Breathe deeply
§ Detach from work during your lunch hours
§ Be grateful
Incorporating mindfulness truly helps you to bring your mind back to the present. But it only comes with daily practice!