Mindfulness in the Workplace

Mindfulness, originally a Buddhist tradition, is the practice of quieting the mind’s voice, thoughts, and anxieties. The focus is to concentrate on only the present and to become keenly aware of your sense of self. Mindfulness is acceptance of yourself, others, and the present situation. Attention to the present and an attitude focused on patience, positivity, openness, and acceptance can have a great impact on your character and your environment. You may think “How can acting positively affect my workplace?”  Well it only takes one smile to brighten a room. Positive energy is contagious and after practicing mindfulness you will undoubtedly see a change not only in your own attitude but in the attitudes of everyone around you. Studies show that mindfulness in the workplace reduces absenteeism and turnover, improves cognitive function, increases productivity, enhances relationships, and improves job satisfaction. As a result companies like Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, and even members of congress have invested in teaching mindfulness to increase productivity and decrease stress. Tips to help you practice mindfulness in the workplace include:

1. Take a couple minutes to notice your breathing. Breathe in and out. Allow your thoughts to pass over you like waves instead of trying to control them. They are simply thoughts; they do not require a reaction.

2. Be fully aware of the activities you perform. Don’t run down a list of everything you need to get done at work while drinking your morning coffee. Simply notice the warmth, taste, and the enjoyment you feel with each sip. This is the only activity you should be concentrating on. Enjoy it.

3. Don’t be overwhelmed with the need to be “doing.” Focus on “being.”

4. Practice listening without the need to criticize. Accept and be accepted. Focus all attention on the other person.

5. Recognize other’s accomplishments and needs. We’re all in this together.

6. At the end of the day, take some time to self-reflect. Do not judge yourself for any of your actions, but simply notice and reflect on them.

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