When was the last time you took a moment to just pause? In our fast-paced, go-go-go society, it’s challenging to do that without feeling like you’re wasting time. But did you know that just taking a few moments each day to practice mindfulness can dramatically improve your personal and professional life? Keep reading to learn how!
Mindfulness: What Is It and Why Should You Practice It?
According to Mayo Clinic:
“Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.”
If you’ve never tried it before, it’s easy to dismiss it as suited only for religious or spiritual people. But there is plenty of research and scientific evidence to support its benefits, including:
Better stress and anxiety management
Work-related stress (and the resulting mental health challenges) is a HUGE issue in America. In 2018, almost 50% of workers stated that stress had caused them to “check out” or stop caring at some point in their career. This demonstrates that stress management is vital not only for peace of mind during the day but also for career longevity. Practicing mindfulness will allow you to tune into positive thoughts and feelings, which can improve your body’s response to stress.
Improved focus for daily activities
You can use mindfulness techniques to train your attention levels and centre your thoughts around specific focal points. This means heightened concentration levels while tackling work tasks and other daily activities.
Enhanced imagination and creative thinking
Creative and problem-solving skills are two of the top ten soft skills companies search for. Mindfulness exercises can help with that. Because one of the goals is to practice thought awareness without fear of judgment, you’ll learn to fluidly shift perspectives and open up your mind to new ideas. That’s just one of many ways that mindfulness can enhance creativity.
Greater interpersonal and people-skills
Your work and home life have one thing in common: relationships. Poor interpersonal skills can damage your connection with others, leading to potentially devastating consequences personally and professionally. Mindfulness helps you become more aware of how your behaviours impact others and empowers you to regulate your emotions and responses to situations effectively.
Heightened clarity and self-awareness
Clarity about self and circumstances is crucial for making decisions that will drive you closer to what you want to have and accomplish. Mindfulness enables you to get in touch with your innermost feelings, thoughts, desires, and motivations, all of which strongly impact your life and career.
5 Mindfulness Exercises to Practice Throughout Your Day
A few small habits practiced over and over lead to great results over time! Try one or more of the following every day:
- Take walking breaks to give your mind a break. Use the time to take in your surroundings, notice your emotions, and think deeply.
- Deliberately pause between tasks and activities for a few moments to concentrate fully and deal with residual stress.
- Fuel your body with nutritious food that will boost your cognitive abilities and help you achieve peak performance.
- Record your thoughts, feelings and ideas using a notebook (or other methods) and review them frequently to recognize beneficial and unhelpful thought patterns and behaviours.
- Connect with a coworker or someone in your personal life over coffee, a meal, or Zoom call and make a conscious effort to practice empathy, deep listening, and other soft skills.
Not to Sound Like a Broken Record, but…
It’s essential to take self-care seriously. Mindfulness exercises are just one way to do that. If you need a bit of a helping hand, we’ve got experts that teach how to incorporate these exercises into your life. Check out our Stress and Mindfulness and Mindful Leadership workshops and hey – get some of your coworkers to tag along!