For most of us, a majority of our waking hours are spent at work and in our ever-connected lives, even when not physically in the office we are just a click, tap, or ring away from our desks. Unfortunately, this doesn't bode well for work-life balance and our relationships with cell phones, but it has especially troublesome effects on our stress levels. In fact, the American Institute of Stress reports that 80% of US workers experience stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.
Companies spend millions of dollars each year on employee programs to help combat these staggering statistics, yet organizations like Glassdoor continue to see satisfaction ratings decline in categories - like Work-Life Balance and Benefits and Compensation - from which employee stressors stem. The truth is American workers are unhappy and need a little support to break the cycle of stress.
That's where mindfulness comes in.
Mindful practices aims to engage and focus the mind by taking the time to acknowledge present feelings, thoughts, and actions - or in other words, a few minutes of daily meditation. Mindfulness has been proven to boost creative thinking, teamwork, and productivity - but it also helps to alleviate work-related stress. Companies like Adobe, Facebook, Google, and Hubspot have all started in-house meditation groups to assist in re-energizing and refocusing employees during work hours. However, if your employer hasn't hopped on the Meditation/Mindfulness bandwagon, there are simple techniques you can embed in your daily routine which not only stop the adverse physiological and metal effects of stress, but also reverse them.
Embark on your mindful journey today. Follow these tips and begin building a more conscious and stress-free work environment!
1. Set an Intention
At the beginning of your workday, hold off checking email for a moment and set an intention for the next eight hours. Whether you are striving for focus, clarity of thought, or even patience, internalize the sentiment you hope to maintain and take a few deep breaths. This will allow you to start your day off on the right foot and give you something to come back to when your thoughts is inevitably derailed.
2. Strive for Comfort
Meditation and mindful practices are never easy, but more often than not you can experience mild discomfort or even embarrassment. Don’t get discouraged; you’re not alone. Strive to feel comfortable in your skin by embracing your feelings, regardless of discomfort, and adjust. Take a few minutes before you start in on a new task and employ your practice.
3. Start out Small
You might feel pressure to master mindfulness, but it requires time and patience. Start out small, dedicating 3-5 minutes of your day to meditate and refocus. As time progresses and you feel more comfortable, increase your time commitment to mindful thinking and don’t be afraid to take your practice elsewhere. Try meditating at home, at work, or even during your commute. Make it your own.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
Much like other habits, you have to put in the time and effort to reap the benefits. Practice every day and don't beat yourself up if you find your mind wandering - reassess, refocus, and try again.