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Mindfulness: How to Stress Less at Work

Jul 19, 2021

No matter what your occupation is—work can be a significant source of stress. Long hours, tight deadlines and difficult decisions can provoke ongoing anxiety. The American Institute of Stress reports that 80% of workers feel stress on the job and half say they need help in learning how to manage their stress. Integrating mindfulness into your daily routine can help. There are simple ways to reduce the impact of workplace stress.

[Mindfulness Explained]

Mindfulness—being aware in the present moment—is a practice that provides tools we need to be less stressed, calmer and accepting of ourselves and others. For most of us, our minds are constantly wandering—often dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness or Meditative techniques teach us how to bring ourselves back to the present moment.

The goal of mindfulness isn’t to stop thinking or to control our thoughts. Mindfulness, instead, teaches us to become the observer of our thoughts, our physical sensations and emotions so that we can see them more clearly.

[Work-related Benefits]

In addition to managing our levels of stress, mindfulness can improve our focus at work. Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier calls mindfulness “attention training.” Harris further explains that the neuroscience shows a daily mindfulness practice can boost areas of the brain that deal with attention regulation.

[Simple Mindful Techniques to Try at Work]

You don’t need to sit cross-legged on a yoga mat to practice mindfulness. Below are work-friendly techniques you can do many times throughout your day and can be done anywhere.

The Sacred Pause

Whenever you have a moment—in between meetings, emails and downloads—take a purposeful pause. Incorporate any of the ideas below into your sacred pause:

  • Bring awareness to your breath. Notice how it feels when inhale. When you exhale. Notice the spaces in between. Try lengthening your breath for a few cycles.
  • Scan your body. Notice any sensations—in your feet, your hands, your belly.
  • Close your eyes and bring your attention to the sounds around you. How many sounds do you hear?

S.T.O.P.

The S.T.O.P. technique can be used when you are in the midst of a particularly stressful moment.

  • Stop when you are doing.
  • Take a breath.
  • Observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment.
  • Proceed with what you were doing.

Awareness Walks

Take a walk, preferably outside. As you walk, stay focused on the sights, the sounds and the sensations as you walk. For example, notice any elements of nature (trees, flowers, plants), any sounds (birds, cars, people), and any physical sensations (the temperature, the ground, the breeze).

Interested in learning more? Our "Managing Stress: Stay Calm, Cool and Collected @WORK" is a perfect FIT for a lunch hour workshop.

Contact FIT2order at [email protected].

SOURCES

  1. Pfeffer, J. Dying for a paycheck. Harpers Collins. (2018).
  2. The American Institute of Stress. Workplace Stress. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.stress.org/workplace-stress
  3. Gelles, D. How to be more mindful at work. The New York Times.com. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/be-more-mindful-at-work

 

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