Mindfulness in the Workplace

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Let me start by saying that I love my job! But even those of us who love our job, can become overwhelmed with meetings, tasks and deadlines. For many of us, when Friday comes, the work week feels like a blur. I recently read a report from the Bureau of Labor, stating that the proportion of workers spending more than 40 hours a week at work, has been on a steady increase over the past five years.

As a population, we are spending more and more time at our job. However, does that mean we are more effective? Could the digital distractions and mindlessness actually be reducing our productivity and make us less happy along the way? Could the solution be as simple as implementing just a few mindfulness practices at work?

I have been taking a deeper dive in to this topic the past few months, and have compiled a list of five mindful practices that can help you better accomplish all those tasks on your ever-growing to-do list, be happier and even boost your brainpower!
 
Throughout the day, we find ourselves slumping into our office chair for yet another day. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy suggests that sitting on a backless stool or chair can help you be more mindful of your posture and your breathing, which helps to increase focus. Also, an added bonus, is that you can burn calories and increase your core strength. (link to the spool here)

View the Spool Collection Chair —> HERE

How do you control unwanted thoughts throughout the day and stay focused? One of my dearest friends, Dr. Kelly Donohoe, has a great solution. She calls it the Grounding Technique, which is something great to practice on your breaks or during your lunch time.

“One thing I love to teach people – for kids too! – is called a ‘grounding technique’. It’s a positive way to ‘get grounded’! You can do it anywhere – sitting or standing. If you are sitting, you turn your energy to the chair. Standing – focus on the literal ground beneath you. This act of refocusing makes it impossible for your mind to keep whirring and buzzing. When you notice your mind wandering away from the ground – you gently bring your attention back. That’s it! Cognitive magic!

Our minds can only do one thing at once and focusing on the here and now will bring calm and peace. It can happen anytime, anywhere. No one knows what you’re doing, all they notice is your renewed calm. If it feels scary to let go of your worries, you can remember that they will always wait for you – though you may not need to revisit those thoughts, letting them go for a minute will never make the situation worse. “

Dr. Kelly Donohoe, Licensed Psychologist www.drkellydonohoe.com 
Follow Dr. Kelly Donohoe on Facebook —> HERE 
 

You probably would not drive somewhere new without some planning first; determining the best route, making sure you have enough fuel, figuring out how much time it will take you to arrive at your destination, and how many pitstops you will need to take along the way. Why not look at your work day as a ‘new destination.’ Develop your daily trip plan, write down what you want to accomplish that day and make a plan of how to accomplish it. Planning your day with specific amounts of time assigned to each item on your to-do list can help you remain more mindful and focused on the task at hand. You may feel like you’re getting more done when you multitask, but odds are, you aren’t. According to the American Psychological Association, multitasking reduces our productivity, in many cases, as must as 40 percent, which clearly makes us less mindful in the long-run. Enjoy your daily journey and don’t forget those pitstops to refuel your mind.

I recently read an article with the opening statement of: “sitting is the new smoking”. The article stated how recent research proves that sitting for too long at your desk makes you more likely to contract heart disease, cancer and Type II Diabetes. The suggestion is to stand at least 10 minutes every hour. My tip is to sneak in a yoga pose while standing! I am not suggesting to greet your co-workers with a Warrior Pose, but it is easy to get in a side stretch at your desk. Even the simplest of side stretches will extend your spine. This posture even gets into the muscles around your ribcage, which allows you to take deeper, more relaxing breaths throughout the day. Relaxing breaths create deeper mindfulness. So how do you perform a proper side stretch? Either bring your feet together or place them hip-width apart, depending on your flexibility, reach your arms into the air, interlace your fingers and stretch to the right. Be mindful of your hips and shoulders, both of which should stay in one line. Hold for a few breaths on each side and then release. 

View OfficeSource Standing Desks Collections —> HERE

You may not realize that to be more mindful AT your workplace, starts with setting limits when you are NOT AT your workplace. Turning off notifications for your work email, and reminding yourself that you will not respond to work related tasks during certain hours. This will actually increase your productivity, focus and commitment to your work when you are actually at your workplace.
 
So, let’s take some of these steps to becoming more mindful at work. Not only will your body thank you, but your mind will as well. Become an even better and more focused worker, by implementing some mindfulness practices at work, whether it’s the ones I suggested above or some that you create yourself. It’s time to become a happier you!

Did you try some of these mindful practices? Let us know which work best for you, or share some of your mindful practices that you used to be more focused at work. 
 
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