your week at work is incredibly busy, and we all know what that can feel like, it can lead to your stress level going through the roof! We may start the day with a list of tasks we need to do and end the day not having finished that list which can lead to worry anxiety and stress. Some research shows most people spend about 47% of their time thinking about something other than what is right in front of them. This amount of distraction can result in decreased focus and higher levels of stress. Training your brain to focus on the present moment through mindfulness may be a good solution.
Using mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress, boost your focus on things and help you have successful relationships with others. If the thought of adding another thing to think about to your already overloaded brain, below are ten easy steps to help you get through your average working day
Try to use mindfulness when you first wake up in the morning. Instead of focusing on your whole day and making yourself feel anxious and stressed, focus on getting dressed, making a drink, getting yourself ready for work, and pat yourself on the back when you achieve each goal. Pay attention to sounds, smells, and how each action makes you feel. When you are taking a shower, notice how the water feels on your skin, do you like the smell of your shampoo? How does your coffee taste? How does drinking it make you feel?
If you drive to work, take a moment to safely notice your surroundings. What does the car in front of you look like? How does driving your car make you feel? Do you enjoy being behind the wheel? How does the seat beneath you feel? If you are on public transport, take notice of the people around you. You have more chance to look out of the window and see the scenery as you pass it by. Take more notice of the world you are living in and I guarantee you will see something new every day.
We all grab a cup of coffee or tea and gulp it down whilst trying to multi-task, but when was the last time you can actually say you enjoyed drinking it? Next time you are holding your chosen hot drink in your hand, take a moment to savor and notice, the steam coming off it, how the warmth of the cup can be soothing, how it tastes, and that actually, how just having a cup of tea or coffee can be one of life’s little pleasures.
Make a point to take short breaks from work a few times each day. Taking a quick walk or grabbing a snack can help refuel your energy and productivity level. Breaks can also be helpful when you get stuck with a problem you might be struggling to deal with. Taking a breather can allow you to return with fresh eyes or a new perspective.
Even if your day involves being around people all the time you can still take a moment and use mindfulness. For example, putting both your hands flat on your desk and noticing how it feels, whilst taking a couple of deep breaths in and out can refocus and recenter you. Repeating a calming sentence, phrase, or word quietly in your head may be all you need to reset and continue.
Being busy all day again can mean grabbing a bite to eat can literally mean just that! Eating something at your desk whilst doing ten other tasks as well. Enjoy what you are eating, take notice of it, food should be a pleasure. The work will still be there after you have taken the time to savor and enjoy your lunch. Taking notice of the smells, the texture, and even chewing mindfully can add to the whole experience. Eating your food at full speed not only robs you of any pleasure but may give you a bad case of indigestion! Being in tune with your body and eating while in a relaxed state can also support good digestion.
These are some small changes you can make during your working day which could in the long run lead to a more relaxed, self-confident, and proficient you!
If you need help in carrying out any of these practices or need to talk to someone about stress, anxiety, or help to find the inner calmer you, I’m always available. Together we can my you more mindful and aware of the person I know you can be!
Jimi D Katsis Bristol-based consultant psychotherapist specialising in recovery from depression, anxiety, and trauma