5 Tips for Mindfulness at Work

Work has been challenging and different for nearly all of us this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A report from Stanford University estimated that, “42 percent of the U.S. labor force now working from home full-time. About another 33 percent are not working – a testament to the savage impact of the lockdown recession. And the remaining 26 percent – mostly essential service workers – are working on their business premises. So, by sheer numbers, the U.S. is a working-from-home economy. Almost twice as many employees are working from home as at work.” Given all of these unexpected changes to how we work, many Americans are facing increased stress and anxiety. Reports indicate that, “up to 72% of American employees experience daily stress and anxiety that interfere with their day-to-day lives.”

Mindfulness is a great tool that can be used to help handle work-related stress. Mindfulness is the practice of maintaining awareness of our thoughts and feelings, and is often paired with meditation to help calm down and re-center. Extensive scientific research has demonstrated that mindfulness can effectively reduce anxiety and stress. Below are 5 tips to promote mindfulness while you work:

  1. Meditate before work every day. This is very helpful in establishing a calm state of mind before you begin work, and it also helps you let go of anxious or avoidant thoughts about the tasks you have to complete each day at work. A recent study found that “meditation practice may positively influence job performance, including job satisfaction, subjective job performance, and work engagement.”
  2. Take short breaks at the top of each hour. This is really important, because as we work we start to use our thinking minds, and that can create a lot of chaos and pressure inside of us. Take a 1 to 5 minute break at each hour to re-center and clear your mind. Research has shown that taking breaks can improve mental well-being, motivation for work, increase productivity and creativity, and improve learning.
  3. When you notice yourself getting stressed, come back to your breath and slow things down. Try not to rush through the tasks you have to do to get them over with. Instead take things slowly and do them with 100% of your effort. Not only will you do a better job, you will feel calmer and better about the work you’ve done.
  4. Go outside. Many studies have shown that going outside improves mood and concentrations. For me personally, it blows my mind how stuffy and tense things can get when I stay inside working for too long. Then when I finally walk outside, especially in nature, feeling the fresh fair clears everything away, and I realize all that tension I’ve been building was unnecessary.
  5. Exercise after work. This can be really helpful to relieve the tension you build during a normal work day, and it can provide a nice break between work and the rest of your night (dinner, hobbies, etc.). Extensive research has shown that exercise improves anxiety, stress, depression, as well as psychological, physiological, and immunological functions.

So try these tips and let us know if they improved your mindfulness at work, and how this impacted your mood and stress at work. Wishing you all the best during these challenging times.

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