Practicing Mindfulness During Your Workday

A busy week at work often leads to increased stress.   Even with the best intentions for productivity at the start of the day, many people  find themselves going home thinking about the tasks they haven’t completed and wondering how the day went by so fast.

Successful mindfulness practice can help to reduce stress, improve focus, and help you to find more satisfaction in relationships.   I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways you can easily fit mindfulness practice into a regular day:

1. Practice Mindfulness in the Morning

Try introducing mindful moments into some of your first actions for the day, such as when you start getting ready for work.   For example, try being mindful while you get dressed.  How does the clothing feel,  take a deep breath as you get dressed.   Pay attention to the fabric touching your skin.

2. Practice Mindfulness on Your  Commute

If you drive, take a moment in traffic to safely notice the details around you. What does the car in front of you look like? How does the steering wheel feel in your hands? If you take public transportation, take a deep breath and notice how the seat beneath you feels. See the color and texture of it. Notice the sound the bus or train makes when it starts and stops.

3. Practice Mindfulness While Drinking Coffee or Tea

If you’re the type of person who chugs coffee or tea while checking email first thing in the morning, then this might be a good time to pause and take a moment for mindfulness.  Instead, sit down with your cup and notice how it feels in your hands. Feel the temperature through the container. Inhale the aroma, then slowly breathe it back out. How does the color of your drink contrast or blend in with its container?

4. Practice Mindfulness While Taking a Break

Make a point to take short breaks from work a few times each day. Taking a quick walk even if it’s around your office or grabbing a snack can help refuel your energy and productivity level. Studies have found employees who take breaks during the day,  return to their tasks with more stamina and feel more energized and motivated throughout the day.

5. Practice Mindfulness While Browsing Social Media

Findings from a University of Pittsburgh study suggest  that the more time people spend on social media, the more likely they are to experience depression. Social media can sometimes make you feel more isolated, can expose you to cyberbullying, and can sometimes distort your perception of time Try not to stay logged into your social media accounts all the time, so when you  decide to check Facebook or Instagram, you need to stop and log in.

6. Practice Mindfulness in the Presence of Others

If your day involves being around other people for a lot of the time, you can still find moments for mindfulness. If you’re in a work meeting, lay your hand flat on the surface in front of you. Notice how the table or desk feels under your palm.

7. Practice Mindfulness in Meditation

Many people practice mindfulness through meditation.  Quieting your mind is often very difficult. In mindfulness meditation, focus your mind on the present thought. If you find your thoughts drifting to other things, take notice of those thoughts—without reaction or judgment then redirect your attention back to the present.  If you’re having trouble getting started, try  closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing. Count each deep breath as you check in with your body. Notice where you are carrying tension. Focus your breaths on that area.

8. Practice Mindfulness While Eating

Physical health can contribute in many ways to mental health and well-being. Practicing mindfulness while making decisions about what you put in your body can help you feel better and also aid in creating healthier eating habits.  Being in tune with your body and eating while relaxed can also support good digestion.

9. Practice Mindfulness in Self-Care Activities

Meditation and mindfulness can be a part of your self care plan.   Think about what would most benefit your mind and body, and then choose a self-care activity thoughtfully.  During your activity, pay attention to your senses. What do you feel? What can you hear? If you find your mind wandering, take note of your thoughts and direct them back to your self-care activity.

10. Practice Mindfulness Before You Go to Sleep

A lack of good and restful sleep can raise your stress level and take a toll on your mind and body. If your mind is busy, and you’re having difficulty quieting it at night, a moment of mindfulness can be very helpful.   Try a few deep breathing exercises or a guided meditation.  As you lie in bed, focus on relaxing one section of your body at a time. Concentrate on your breathing until your mind feels quiet enough to fall asleep.

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