How To Improve Mindfulness At Work
Mindfulness enables people to step back and consider alternative ideas rather than reacting to events impulsively, Gautam Gupta writes. When we are in reactive mode, decisions are made using the least intelligent areas of our brains.
Mindfulness helps us toggle to more active and intelligent areas of the brain, enabling us to be in greater control of our emotions and thereby a choice of more appropriate response.
Mindfulness expert, Mirabai Bush, well know for introducing it to Google, says: “Bringing mindfulness into the workplace doesn’t prevent issues from coming up. But whenever they do arise, they can be responded to appropriately after due thought and judgment. Over time with mindfulness, we learn to develop the inner resources that will help us navigate through difficult, trying and stressful situations with more ease, comfort, and grace.”
Becoming aware of one’s emotions as they arise gives an individual more choice in terms of dealing with them. Mindfulness helps become aware of one’s emotion by noticing various sensations in the body. Then one can follow these guidelines: stop doing what you are doing and breathe deeply. Notice how you are experiencing the emotion in your body. Reflect on where the emotion is coming from in your mind (personal history, insecurity etc.). Respond in the most compassionate way.
Regular practice of mindfulness enhances the brain’s ability to repair itself and grow new networks and hard-wiring. But it is important to practice consistently for better results much like physical work-outs that need to be sustained for effectiveness. A simple mindfulness practice is a one-minute meditation. All it needs is a quiet place and one has to focus attention on the breathing process. As the mind starts wandering, the attention can be brought back to the breathing. Then relax as the calm sets in.
Three relatively simple exercises to try:
- Chant a ‘Mantra’: Begin your morning by choosing a positive message or ‘mantra’ and repeat it to yourself throughout the day. For example: “May I be peaceful, happy and productive.”
- Focus on your breathing: Slowing down your breathing puts you in a calm emotional state and is something that can be done almost anywhere. Simply focusing on each inhalation and each exhalation can relax you. An easier exercise is: Breathe in deeply through your nose to the count of three, hold for three and release through your mouth to the count of three. Repeat. This is best done with eyes closed.
- Write a gratitude note: One can write about a positive event that happened during the day and think as to why it made you happy. Expressing gratitude is shown to increase mental strength.