Mindful at Work

Mindful Habits To Calm Down At Work

Here are some resources as a guide to start your mindful practice at work. Actually mindfulness simply requires being aware of our sensations and using that to prime our attention. It is usually misunderstood that to meditate mindfully is to have our eyes closed and to allow thoughts to freely come and go. Yes, that is a common way, but it truly is difficult to mindfully work and focus on a tight deadline with the eyes closed!

Some activities that we can start to implement while busy in front of the laptop or PC.

I start by observing my first breath and allowing the sensations that arise as the breath enters, to guide me. This means being observant of the tingling or numbness or heaviness in any part of the body and feel where it flows to in the body.

Mindfully Typing On The Keyboard

Next as I continue to type, or think of a solution for a problem at work. I use any pause or moments of pondering, to feel the texture and pressure of my fingers against the keyboard.

This is a circular chain reaction of using the awareness of where I place my fingers and to exert pressure and release pressure. As the typing continues, I use the breathing to allow myself to anchor in focused attention on the problem or presentation that is due in 10 minutes time!

Stressed In A Meeting Or Presentation

You've worked day and night for the last 3 days trying to build a strong case for your internal client. The pitch has to go well and it starts with the first word you mouth. It starts in 10 minutes time!

You feel nervous with endless rumination about worst case scenarios and what ifs. You sometimes pause to ponder if you missed any important supporting document or appendix slide.

This is a common occurrence. How may I calm down in an anxious moment like this? Let's turn the anxiety of presenting into a channel of calming energy for you now!

Steps to calm down in meetings:

  1. Find a texture to anchor your focus by running your hands through a surface (the meeting table for example)

  2. Be curious and detailed about the texture. Is it smooth? Is it grainy? Warm or is it cold? When our mind is curious, the brain cannot process fear because curiosity and fear is provoked by the same situations and curiosity can displace fear. So be curious!

  3. Mindfully breathe and observe the sensations arising through the inhale of air in your nostrils and channel that to a thought that reinforces the curiosity about the surface you are in contact with.

  4. As you breathe, use each thought that arise as an opportunity to reframe your mindset about what you are experiencing.

  5. If you still feel anxious, be more curious than ever. Are you feeling anxious? Or are you feeling your heart pumping faster, or a particular part of the body shake or tremble? Allow the body to feed your curiosity, and flow that attention back to your breathing.

  6. The bodily sensations can mean anxiety, but it can also mean an energy that is waiting to be released. The mindset of anxiety is the belief that either empowers us, or limits us. We can consider the bodily response to our "anxiety" is actually a form of excitement and creative energy awaiting its release! I am feeling anxious to start can be akin to I'm eagerly awaiting my presentation, bring it on! More about adopting positive mindset matters can be found in my blog.

Yet mindfulness is a habit and a way of life. This means practice and effort. How do we start small? Here are some constructive ways to build micro habits of mindfulness at work!

5 Mindfulness Micro Habits At Work

  1. Opening doors - use the awareness of reaching a door handle (to open the door) as an awareness cue to breath in deeply, and after that just observe the next breath.

  2. Coffee break at the pantry - use the time while watching water and coffee drip into your cup as a mindful exercise. You can observe the ripples, the steam, or listen attentively to the machine grinding powder. You could also pay attention to breathing in air as coffee fills the cup.

  3. Sipping a drink - the short span of time taken to sip a drink, is a perfect chance to create separation and get your headspace in touch with your inner sanctuary. As you hold up your cup, take this action as a sign to inhale and focus on that thought. The feeling of liquid in you tongue swirling down to your throat helps shift the mind from work to something else. This space for your inner peace is a brilliant way to recharge and head back to work.

  4. Feeling the textures while typing. Working on the laptop or PC is the best way to be mindful. As mentioned, I use this while I work to channel creativity and focus back to my work.

  5. Inhale on each mouse click. Every time a browser page or spreadsheet refreshes, or you open a new file, is an opportunity to build a habit of focusing on your breath. Observe your inhale with each mouse click and allow that load time however short, to carve out that peace of mind that you need at work.

Use Music To Be Attentive At Work

Listening to music or having it play in the background can be calming and often helps me be productive at work. Have a playlist that you favourite for your work, just like you have one for your sports.

I use music to either distract the surrounding noises and focus on work mostly. However sometimes indulging in drifting my focus to a catchy lyric or a guitar rift brings an element of creativity and play to the way I work.

This helps me beat the stress. So be it lofi lounge music, piano tunes to calm myself down, or anything upbeat, all forms of music can create the ideal environment for a stress free and enjoyable day at work.