Practical Mindfulness Techniques In The Workplace

August 14, 2017

“When was the last time you felt the wind brush past your skin?”

  • Quote on Mindfulness

The desire to practice mindfulness in the organization has become quite popular in the past years, especially with the positive support for influence on job performance and turnover. [1].

At a base level:

“Mindfulness is the gentle effort of becoming fully engaged with the present moment without overreaction to or placing judgment on what is going on around us.”

In a dynamic work environment, the mind’s tendency to wander can make it easy to become distracted from the present task and moment. However, by practicing mindfulness regularly, employees and personnel can benefit from higher engagement and effectiveness with their work, reduced stress, added resilience to change, increased emotional intelligence and many other rewards. [1][2]

Approaching Mindfulness In The Workplace

There are many techniques that can be approached from both an individual level and group level in the workplace.

1. Ten Breaths Technique (Individuals & Groups)

3-10 minutes

If you or your team are feeling overwhelmed with the work or tasks at hand, take a pause to catch your breath.

  • Completely detach from the tasks at hand - putting the pen, paper down, closing the laptop
  • Close your eyes if you feel comfortable
  • Inhale for 3 second count while focusing on inhaling deeply from the stomach and base of the spine
  • Exhale for 7 seconds focusing on the sensation of air passing through the nostrils and/or mouth.
  • Repeat for a count of 10

2. Where am I Right Now? (Individuals & Groups)

2-10 minutes

Our work and everyday tasks tend to focus on thinking about past experience in order to create a desired future result in our project, job or organization. However, when we focus extensively on the past and future, we tend to lose the present moment causing stress and anxiety.

When feeling overwhelmed, consider stopping for a minute and asking the question,

“Where am I right now?”

After asking the question follow up with 2-3 minutes to observe the surroundings and details around you.

What colour are the walls? Can you hear the chatter and clicking away at keyboards. Can you hear the shuffling of feet across the floor?

Focusing deeply on the surroundings and sounds of the environment can create a break from work and help us return with a more mindful approach.

3. Body Scans (Individuals)

5-10 minutes

When we engage with our work our brain often suppresses common sensations such as the feeling of sitting on a chair or place hands on a desk.

A quick technique to realign your mindset in a more mindful approach is to take a second to focus on simple sensations of the body such as:

  • The feeling of your chair pressing against you to hold you up
  • The sensation of air passes through your nostrils
  • The textures of clothing against skin
  • The sensation of temperature to the skin
  • The feeling of your feet pressed against the ground

Breaking away from the mind and into the physical sensations of the world around you can create the needed contrast to reproach work with a more mindful mindset.

Conclusion

Cultivating a feeling of mindfulness in the workplace on an individual or group level can create much needed breaks for the mind in between cognitively demanding tasks.

Persons in your organization who practice and engage in mindful behaviour tend to be more optimistic, have higher life satisfaction, and a positive overall well-being, allowing them to be productive and happier about their work and job [3].

Consider adopting and engaging in an attitude of mindfulness in your workplace, to demonstrate to your people that your organization values and appreciates their unique personalities and actively pursues a culture of compassion, and open-mindedness.

Further Reading:

Mindful.org

Mindful Attention Awareness Scale

Examining Workplace Mindfulness and Its Relations to Job Performance and Turnover

The Mindful Workplace: Developing Resilient Individuals and Resonant Organizations with MBSR