For those of us who have busy working lives, the idea of incorporating mindfulness into our already packed to the rafters days can be a bit of a sore subject.
With responsibilities around the home such as taking the kids to school, daily chores and grocery shopping, heaped on to the daily tasks we’re supposed to keep on top of as part of our job descriptions, many people believe that finding a few moments for mindfulness is something that they simply don’t have the time to do.
However, it’s worth it to find the time. Taking a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of your busy life can actually have some fantastic benefits that can help you in more ways than you might expect.
For time-strapped professionals, mindfulness can help restore focus and enable you to tackle complex projects with a clear mind, (rather than having numerous untamed thoughts running through your brain). If you choose to tough it out instead of dealing with your racing thoughts, it can actually make you less than productive.
Taking a moment to gain clarity provides an escape route from the mental chatter that can prevent you from reaching your true potential. Therefore, a few minutes of mindfulness can pay big dividends when it comes to getting the job done.
Calm your mind
Stress is one of the leading reasons for employee absences here in America. Therefore, the ability to release some of the pressures of work before they build up to the kinds of unmanageable levels that lead to illness, is a skill that anyone working in a high-pressure environment will want to master.
Mindfulness helps you to overcome adverse events and helps support positive attitudes. Therefore, it’s a great way of getting a head start on tackling the daily challenges we all face when we head off to work each morning. And, not only will it promote your own better mental health, it will also ripple out into your environment and have a positive impact on those around you.
Mindfulness isn’t just an effective tool for mental and emotional health; it also has several benefits for your physical wellbeing too!
From reducing stress, to lowering blood pressure, and reducing chronic pain, mindfulness can help you to fight the negative effects of chronic stress in a myriad of ways. By learning key mindfulness tools that you can practice pretty much anywhere at any time, you’ll also be able to enjoy better sleep and awaken each morning feeling fully rested and ready to face the day ahead.
Sounds great, right? But how do you go about incorporating mindfulness into your daily 9 to 5 routine without it blowing a big hole in your schedule?
Here are five tried and tested mindfulness techniques that you can start to add into your day. You’ll soon begin to see what a difference taking a few moments for yourself can make to your productivity, wellbeing and overall happiness.
1. Start the day right
Mornings can be manic at the best of times. Still, if you start your day off on the wrong foot, you’ll be heading for a stress-filled day before you’ve even left the house.
To incorporate mindfulness into your morning routine, rise ten minutes early for a little AM meditation before you get out of bed. This can be as simple as sitting up and closing your eyes while repeating a calming mantra of your choice or just focusing on how you’re going to make a success of the day ahead.
Next, take a mindful shower where you clear your thoughts and allow the soothing sound and feel of the water on your skin to touch each part of your body, noticing the sensation in succession from head to toe.
These few moments will help calm you, get you ready for the daily tasks to come, and help set you up for a great start to the day.
2. Mindful meetings
For many professionals, meetings can feel like time-wasters that interfere with their work days. But, what if you were intentional about approaching your meetings with a state of mindfulness? Might that change how you perceive them?
Based on my experience (and that of many of my clients), the answer is, “yes.”
If you really strive to listen without judgment to what others are saying, it will help enhance conversation and promote a better understanding of the challenges faced by other members of your team. Opening your mind up and being empathetic can help calm down tricky situations. So, take a moment to focus, hear and digest what the person is saying before choosing how to react. You might just find that you gather more information during your meetings – both in terms of what is said, and what is unsaid.
3. Take a moment
If you feel the stress of the day is becoming too much, head to a quiet space and allow your emotions to flow without judging yourself for any negative thoughts you encounter. Instead of resisting them or pretending they’re not there, you might find that acknowledging them allows them to pass more quickly.
Processing your negative feelings is key to your emotional wellbeing, so name your emotions as you experience them, visualize putting them on a leaf in a stream, and let them float away.
4. Nourish your mind and body
Rushed lunches can lead to all kinds of digestive issues, so use mindfulness to savor each flavor and texture while concentrating on eating. This will help clear the mind and refocus your concentration for the rest of the day, so feel free to leave the office for a few minutes if you think you’ll be interrupted by colleagues. Not only will this give you a nice respite from the stress of the day, it might even help you to watch your waistline, as you’ll be slowing down the rate at which you’re eating.
5. Practice deep breathing
Taking five minutes during the day to practice deep breathing techniques is the cornerstone of effective mindfulness, so choose a breathing technique that works for you and practice for at least five minutes per day.
This can be done without drawing attention to yourself – whether you’re sitting quietly in your office, commuting on the subway, or taking a break in the bathroom. Further, to really ramp things up a little, why not throw in a few visualization techniques too? Here, you imagine serene landscapes to help you reduce stress and release any pent up anxiety that’s been dogging your day.
If you’ve already been able to add a little mindfulness into your daily routine, then that’s great! You’ll already be enjoying the higher levels of emotional intelligence and greater resilience that using mindfulness techniques during your 9 to 5 can offer.
But could you be better?
Mastering the art of mindfulness can help you unlock your true potential in all areas of life, so why not take this quick quiz to get a greater understanding on your mindfulness mastery and uncover a few key areas that can help you achieve your goals and be a winner at life?
Click here to get started with my mindfulness quiz and discover how you can become happy, balanced and successful with just a few minutes each day.