Simple tools to increase your mindfulness
Keep calm and carry on
Let’s face it: even if you love your work, things can get a little crazy from time to time. Whether it’s a conflict with co-workers or the pressure of an upcoming deadline, work stress is inevitable. But no matter what caused it, you do not have to lose your mind(fulness) too.
The key to maintaining your Zen attitude, even in difficult circumstances, is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being completely in the moment, embracing the situation as it is without judgment. Science has shown many benefits to practicing mindfulness including reduced stress, an increase in working memory and a better ability to focus.
There are many ways to achieve this state of awareness. Regular meditation is one of the common and effective ways to achieve mindfulness. Practicing guided meditations or simply sitting still and following your breath is effective. It’s about finding a method that works for you.
Taking care of your body will also help you stay calm amidst the chaos. For example, staying hydrated can help you think more clearly and decrease headaches. Also, eating fresh vegetables and healthy proteins will give you the energy you need to get through the workday.
It is not always easy to keep calm in a hectic work environment, but it’s possible if you have the right tools. Here are a few ways you can stay mindful no matter what is going on around you:
Where Are Your Feet?
When stress arises, the wheels in your head can start spinning. When your mind is racing, this lowers your ability to think clearly and problem-solve efficiently. So how can we return to a calm and peaceful state of mind?
Focusing on physical sensations can bring you back to center. From that headspace, you regain the ability to respond rather than react impulsively.
One of the best ways to quickly reel your awareness back in is to think about your feet. Take a breath and be in your body. Feel the floor holding you up or the tightness of your shoes. Some people prefer to focus on their breath or feel the air in their lungs. This can quickly ground you. As you practice mindful meditation outside of work, your ability to be in the moment significantly improves.
If your work allows, taking a haiku walk can go a long way toward balancing your emotions. A haiku walk is mindful walking that allows you to observe what is going on around you. It is easiest to do in nature, but if all you have is a crowded corridor, you can make that work too.
Traditional haiku allows you to tap deeper into your senses. Taking a haiku walk enables you to let go of the day’s stresses, and enjoy your surroundings. As you focus more on the external environment, you will start to notice your stress and anxiety lessen.
Build A Secure Base
Practicing mindfulness is much easier when you feel you are in a safe space. You can take a secure base self-test to determine if you need to work on creating a healthier work environment. Things such as improving workplace communication and team-building skills can go a long way toward having a safe and healthy work environment.
Building a secure base benefits everyone’s focus and productivity. When you feel secure, you are less likely to get thrown off track when problems do arise. You will also find yourself more willing to take risks, which can lead to breakthroughs and innovation.
Workplace conflicts are often the result of miscommunication. Everyone’s unique backgrounds and experiences influence their perspective.
When you feel misunderstood, you might want to confront the person immediately. However, this will make the other person feel attacked, and put them on the defensive. In defensive mode, it is impossible to fully hear and receive what someone is saying. Have you heard the phrase, “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy?” If you want to resolve the conflict, you may have to put aside your desire to make them understand and let go of control.
Effective communication leads to better relationships. Better relationships lead to a happier and healthier work environment.
There are three basic steps to help you understand each other’s point of view and improve communication.
• Check in with yourself first. Effective communication means kicking your ego to the curb. If necessary, take a moment and get your emotions in order. It is much better to delay communication until you are calm instead of blurting out something hurtful in the heat of the moment that you can’t take back.
• Express empathy: Everyone wants to be heard and understood. An effective way to diffuse a situation is to simply listen to what is being said. When you put yourself in their shoes, it is easier to appreciate their point of view. By acknowledging their frustrations, you validate their feelings, which will make them more receptive to hearing your side.
• Know who you are dealing with: not everyone reacts the same way to stressors. Therefore, different people may require a different approach. By understanding and accepting each other’s communication styles, you can more successfully reduce conflicts and build a healthier work environment.
Learn to Stop Worrying
There is a saying that goes something like, “If you pray, don’t worry. If you worry, don’t pray.” Worry can be characterized as faith that the worst will happen. The stress of worry can actually cause you physical harm! From digestive issues to chronic illness, worry often keeps you from taking action.
You can reduce worry by training yourself to focus forward on problem-solving. Choosing a mantra such as, “Problems will arise, and I will resolve them,” can help you avoid getting stuck in regret or being consumed by a sense of impending doom.
Boost Your Resilience
Regardless of how well you handle conflict and chaos, life happens. It is important in times of tragedy, to be able to pick up and move forward. Resilience can allow you to stay calm and focus even when things around you are falling apart.
You can enhance your resilience by practicing flexible thinking. Every problem has a solution; some are harder to find than others. It is important to maintain flexible thinking and understand that the resolution might not look exactly how you pictured. Acceptance is critical. By acknowledging a change in circumstances, you are free to work toward a new goal.
Optimism can also help you become more resilient. Seeing a problem as a learning experience can help ease the sting of the situation and give you a clear perspective.
Looking for a specific activity to strengthen your resilience? Journaling, meditation and spiritual practice have helped many people overcome the obstacles holding them back. Resilience will help you bounce back quicker from life’s disappointments.
It really is possible to stay calm amidst chaos, and much easier than you think. It simply takes a bit of practice and perseverance. When work gets crazy, keep these methods in mind. Here are some of my guided meditations to get you started.