Incorporating mindful moments at work
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Wave, September / October 2016
Here are some suggestions for incorporating mindful moments at work
The 3 Bs (Break, Breathe, and Be)
Stop for five minutes, breathe deeply, and just be. Be fully present in the moment, be aware of how you are doing and let go of any negative thoughts or stressors for now. This technique gives your mind a break and can be done simply and in any setting.
Use your 15-minute coffee break to participate in a progressive muscle relaxation exercise. Check out www.uclahealth.org (search: guided meditations) for simple breathing exercises that you can do at your desk. This is an excellent grounding technique when we are under pressure and helps us to refresh our minds.
Take a walk outside and notice the sights (trees, blue sky), sounds (birds, traffic) and smells (fresh air, flowers). This activity can be energizing and has the added benefit of physical activity.
Focus on one task at a time, fully and completely, without interruptions for 30 minutes. This strategy is called chunking and because it is time-limited, we actually achieve more when we give specific tasks undivided attention. You may be amazed at how creative you can be and how much you will accomplish in this short block of time.
Embrace the mundane
Most people have tasks in their jobs that seem mundane, repetitive or maybe even boring. That is actually good and can be your scheduled mental break time. Tasks that require less attention allow you to regroup, refocus and recharge.
Try grounding yourself when driving between appointments. At a stop light, look and notice the green trees and blue sky, listen to the sounds around you like music playing on the radio or the hum of your engine, and feel the support and comfort of your car seat underneath you. This grounding technique is a simple way to quickly refresh and reset your thoughts to the present moment.
Ban electronics (don't panic- it is only temporary)
Hold meetings where cell phone use and e-mail checks are not allowed. Studies show that workplaces that use this strategy report better understanding of goals, improved relationships and less need to clarify meeting decisions. So the next time you entertain muting a conference call to answer e-mails or do paperwork at the same time, stop, breathe and re-focus. It's amazing what you can miss if you aren't fully aware of what is happening.
Take a moment at the end of your workday or before bed to journal about any mindfulness activities you did and how it went. This builds on your self-awareness and helps you decide what to include in your personal mindfulness plan.
For more ideas on being mindful, visit the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's mental health promotion website at www.wellbeingguide.ca.
Back to "Mind-FULL at work".
Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.
Read the September / October 2016 issue of Wave