When we spend too much of our energy thinking about the past or the future, it’s easy to slip into mood patterns that get in the way of contentment and joy. Too much worrying about what might happen in the future can create feelings of anxiety, and too much dwelling on the past can lead to feelings of depression. The practice of mindfulness is one of staying present in the moment by focusing on immediate sensory cues such as what we see, hear, taste, and feel right now. The practice of mindfulness may also include exploring your currently state of mind by noticing what you are thinking and feeling emotionally, right now. A practice of mindfulness is a powerful tool used by therapists in the fields of trauma and eating disorders (among other specialty focuses) to help individuals develop powerful insights and break free of the chains of anxiety and depression, and there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain!
Our team of competent, compassionate therapists in Glendale Arizona regularly help people learn to use a practice of mindfulness to overcome a variety of issues in their personal lives, but what about while at work? Since many of us spend a considerable amount of time every week in a work environment, wouldn’t it make sense to bring mindfulness into the workplace?
Global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh says we can take to bring mindfulness to our work with powerful results! Here are 15 things, taken from an article which originally appeared in The Huffington Post, you can do to bring mindfulness into your workplace:
- Start your day with 10 minutes of sitting in meditation.
- Take the time to sit down and enjoy eating breakfast at home.
- Remind yourself every day of your gratitude for being alive and having 24 brand-new hours to live.
- Try not to divide your time into “my time” and “work.” All time can be your own time if you stay in the present moment and keep in touch with what’s happening in your body and mind. There’s no reason why your time at work should be any less pleasant than your time anywhere else.
- Resist the urge to make calls on your cell phone while on your way to and from work, or on your way to appointments. Allow yourself this time to just be with yourself, with nature and with the world around you.
- Arrange or find a breathing area at work where you can go to calm down, stop and have a rest. Take regular breathing breaks to come back to your body and to bring your thoughts back to the present.
- At lunchtime, eat only your food and not your fears or worries. Don’t eat lunch at your desk. Change environments. Go for a walk.
- If you enjoy tea, make a ritual out of drinking it. Stop work and look deeply into your tea to “see” everything that went into making it: the clouds and the rain, the tea plantations and the workers harvesting the tea.
- Before going to a meeting, visualize someone very peaceful, mindful and skillful being with you, even if only imaginally. Take refuge in having this person “there with you” to help stay calm and peaceful.
- If you feel anger or irritation, refrain from saying or doing anything straight away. Come back to your breathing and follow your in- and out-breath until you’ve calmed down.
- Practice looking at your boss, your superiors, your colleagues or your subordinates as your allies and not as your enemies. Recognize that working collaboratively brings more satisfaction and joy than working alone. Know that the success and happiness of everyone is your own success.
- Express your gratitude and appreciation to your colleagues regularly for their positive qualities. This will transform the whole work environment, making it much more harmonious and pleasant for everyone.
- Try to relax and restore yourself before going home so you don’t bring accumulated negative energy or frustration home with you.
- Take some time to relax and come back to yourself when you get home before starting on household chores. Recognize that multitasking means you’re never fully present for any one thing. Do one thing at a time and give it your full attention.
- At the end of the day, keep a journal of all the good things that happened in your day. Water your seeds of joy and gratitude regularly so they can grow.
Kimberly Mahr is a licensed clinical therapist working in Phoenix, Arizona who specializes in working with people suffering from mood challenges, grief, relationship issues, eating disorders, trauma, and more.
If you or someone you know needs help, talk with your health care provider or give us a call! We have a caring staff of seasoned therapists in our Phoenix/Glendale, Arizona offices who have experience in helping people heal from the past, find meaning and joy in the present, and embrace hope for the future. (623) 810-1663