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Work is often a stressful place.
Not only are we expected to hit regular milestones and goals so we can grow in our own role, but at most companies, we are also required to work and collaborate with a variety of people with a wide range of communication styles, and some of them may upset us in different ways.
To keep from becoming distressed, here are a few mindfulness tips for work to help us stay more resilient:
1. Know our strengths and weaknesses.
While knowing our strengths and weaknesses is not a mindfulness exercise in and of itself, it is something that can be gleaned through mindfulness and self-reflection. Meditation, for example, can help us strengthen our mind-body connection and observe our strengths and weaknesses so we can better know what roles to take on when working on a team or individual projects.
Establishing our strengths and weaknesses outside of work will help us streamline our experience and eliminate the stress of uncertainty.
2. Practice 4-second breathing.
A simple tool that can help us down-regulate negative emotions is the 4-second breathing technique. When we feel upset or triggered, we can start by finding the specific place we feel our breath. From here, we focus on breathing deep into our belly, making sure our breath does not become frantic, as this will release stress hormones that will escalate whatever negative emotions we may be dealing with.
We then lengthen our breath by practicing a 4-second inhale and then a 4-second exhale. After five minutes of this, we will feel our energy recenter as our attention shifts from the external world to our internal world. We would be moving our focus to the present rather than what has happened in the past or what might happen in the future.
3. Recognize what emotions are present for us.
Sometimes, without meaning to, we bring our external world (life) into the workplace. This can cause us to experience emotions that aren’t part of our work. Becoming aware of these emotions and their source is an important part of managing how we experience our workplace.
Before going into work, or even when we feel upset or stressed at work, we can start by checking in with ourselves emotionally.
We can ask ourselves:
>> How am I feeling?
>> What feeling is most prominent?
>> When did I become aware of this feeling?
From here, we can identify what might be triggering these negative feelings by asking:
>> Where might this feeling be coming from?
>> What’s happening (or not happening) in my life outside of work, right now?
Oftentimes, we will be able to find patterns and links between our feelings and our lives outside of work, which will allow us to take steps to make a change and eliminate these triggers. This will, in turn, improve our personal and professional lives.
4. Take mindfulness breaks.
While longer meditation practices at the beginning and/or end of our day will also help with stress, taking short meditation breaks throughout the day can help us pause and reflect on certain situations in the past so we can shift back into the present.
After taking the time to identify the negative emotions and stressors that come from these situations, we shift back into the present by focusing on our surroundings.
We can close our eyes, listen to the sounds around us, notice where we hold our weight and how our feet feel on the floor, identify tension, and try to relax these places before opening our eyes and continuing with our work.
5. Go for a walk.
If possible, we can get out of the office. Being in a different physical space will help us reset emotionally and focus on our own energy instead of the needs and demands of our work and coworkers. Walking will also help to get our hearts pumping, stimulating blood flow to the brain, which will also make it easier for us to complete work tasks once we get back into the office.
While work can be stressful, it doesn’t have to be.
There are lots of ways to refocus our energy and remain present during the work day. These tips are just five of many ways for us to do so.