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This Thing called ‘Mindfulness’ II

Practical Steps in achieving mindfulness at work

1). Be consciously present:

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Mindfulness is above all, living but as per this subject matter, I’d say, working at the moment. Being aware and awake in the wake of your current task. When you’re consciously present at work you are aware of the moment-moment state of what’s going on around you and what’s going on within you.  If you’re report writing, mindfulness requires you to focus on your task and avoid wandering thoughts on ‘Jade’s new promotion or how Tola got into an argument with Morgan’. Just acknowledge the thoughts and bring yourself back to your task at hand. 

Reality: At the start of work daily, pause, reflect and note to self of your decision to be visibly and thoughtfully present at work as much as you can. Pause a bit to set this intention in mind.  

2)  Practise Mindfulness exercise to connect with your senses: 

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You could find a small space to feel your pulse, close your eyes, practice breathing exercises. In the event a quiet small space cannot be located, you don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down. Simply connect with your body, perhaps take a walk in a very safe space slowly, feel your toes.  Simply connect with your body, check in with your senses and release any tension. Be aware as your heel and toes touch the earth. I recall one time where I faced intense pressure and stress at work, my favorite tension release spot was the bathroom, I’ll swing in to catch my breath, as funny as it sounds, I always felt unbelievably refreshed. 

Reality: Take a deep breath and allow that contact with the breath to ground you in a fuller sense of reality. Observe what’s going on, what may be your thoughts, your emotions, and become more fully present, right to the richness of the moment. 

3)  Single task:

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In a fast past world, where we’re in a bid to meet deadlines, achieve work expectations and exceed them, we are sometimes tempted to impress our supervisors by taking on too many loads with the hope of delivering within a short time. This has been found to be a major stressor at work. Now while you think sets you on a part for promotion, etc, you can still achieve that by keeping a daily schedule of work and set setting achievable deadlines for yourself without having to put much pressure. Possibly ‘inquire’ stage by engaging with your supervisors to workout suitable deliverables.

Reality: Daily draw up a realistic to-do list, which is realistic and prioritize. 

4)  Make haste slowly:

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Mindfulness seems sometimes counter-intuitive. You ask how can slowing down makes you more efficient and productive, but in real-time yes it does. This gives you the opportunity to absorb the moment, plan your self and next steps. Imagine being asked to keep working and stop sleeping, Maybe you’ve experienced this when trying to meet a deadline at work or even studying for exams. Eventually, your efficiency/energy level drops to almost zero; you’re completely living out of the present moment and perhaps even hallucinating! Slowing down affords a self-reflection opportunity on the task to be executed and provides a structured thought process that is clear and precise. 

5)  Adopt a growth mindset:

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 According to Carol Dweck and her team at Stanford University researcher, people essentially adhere to one of two mindsets a growth or a fixed mindset. Having a growth mindset means you’re constantly learning, unlearning and relearning to improve your personal and professional growth. Keeping an open mind to improve your self makes the difference. Mindfulness is about adopting a growth mindset. Mindfulness is about giving attention to the present moment and not self-doubting or criticizing your innate talent or intelligence, but being open to new possibilities. When you adopt a growth mindset at work, you don’t mind getting negative feedback as you view it as a chance to discover something new, you’re less emotionally reactive to situations, knowing its all work, and you’re in the organization to achieve collective goals and objectives. With a growth mindset, you take charge of situations in the workplace embracing new responsibilities because you want to be better. You expect and move towards challenges, seeing them as opportunities for inner growth. That’s the essence of mindfulness at work—believing that you can improve and grow with experience, moving towards challenges, living in the moment, and discovering new things about yourself and others.

6) Accept things you cannot change: With mindfulness, you accept the things you cannot change. Mindfulness means to accept this present moment just as it is in an accepting way. And it means to accept yourself, just as you are now. It doesn’t imply resignation or giving up. But it does mean acknowledging the truth of how things are at this time before trying to change anything. 

Reality: Be willing to embrace situations in the workplace as they come, learn and move on from there.

7)  Be grateful: 

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Gratefulness is key in mindfulness. When you’re mindful, you’re appreciative of the very moment and what it presents to you. Remember, you once prayed and wished for where you are now. We all seem to be in haste to up the next step, mindfulness leaves in the moment of overwhelming gratitude for where you are currently. Evidence suggests that actively practicing gratitude makes you feel better and has a positive impact on your creativity, health, working relationships, and quality of work. Despite the hurdles at work, for example, you might dislike certain work culture in the office, or might just be tolerating an overbearing colleague, but mindfulness makes you see the good in that person and even prepares you for your next role or job. Being mindful makes you aware of what you want and vice versa, it shows you what’s going well at work helps to improve your resilience. Rather than allowing your mind to spiral into anxiety or dip into low moods as you brood over all the aspects of the job you don’t like, you can feed your mind with thoughts of gratitude to raise your well-being. 

8) Be humble: 

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Mindfulness and humility imply when you’re grateful, you should be humble enough to be open to corrections, listening to others, appreciating feedback. Humility is not timidity or naivety. No one enjoys listening to people continually and oppressively singing praises of themselves every time, when your humble, you’re empathetic to the needs of people and that makes you fully aware of your current environment. Be genuinely interested in listening to people. 

9)  Switch off as many distractors as you can: 

Identify your distractors and limit the use during work time. It might be the use of social media or particular unhealthy practices that slows down productivity at work. 

10) Pay attention to routine tasks: In practicing mindfulness, pay attention to routine tasks such as running your hands in the tap and feeling every sensation of the water, etc. whatever routine task revolving around your job, feel it at the moment.

11) Include mindfulness in your calendar: Take moments during work to be mindful of your environment. You could set an alarm, on vibration which doesn’t disturb anyone, breathe, feel and appreciate your environment. Empty yourself at the moment while practicing this exercise. 

Mindfulness well cultivated as a practice overall improves the very core totality of your being, it rejuvenates and creates an exhilarating feeling of mental freedom, self-awareness, emotional stability, social awareness, and quality relationship management.