Mindfulness. It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem obvious, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter in hand. Your mind takes flight and pretty soon you’re engrossed in thoughts about something that happened previously or fretting about the future. Here are 5 benefits of mindfulness at work;
#1 Silly mistakes become part of every day when you’re not being mindful. You’ve probably slipped into autopilot when you’re doing something simple you’ve done a hundred times before. You may have been in a meeting when your mind has wondered off and you’re quickly brought back to the moment when someone asks for your opinion. No matter how far you drift from the present, mindfulness can snap you back to where you are and what you’re doing and feeling, reducing those ‘autopilot mistakes’ we all shrug off.
#2 In the general busyness in which we lead our lives, we’ve stopped living fully through our senses. Think about it for a moment. How many times have you missed a colleague looking unwell because you’re not truly paying attention (looking without seeing)? Have you eaten on the go, using food merely as a functional means to an end (eating without tasting)? Be present in everything you do and enjoy the simple pleasures along the way.
#3 If you feel yourself heading down a pathway you don’t want to go (to a place of anger, resentment, anxiety or conflict), through conscious awareness you can slam on the brakes and almost immediately channel yourself down a more productive pathway as you apply mindful breathing. This strategy offers you an ‘anchor’ – your breath – on which you can focus whenever you feel you are struggling with negative thoughts. Pausing and taking a few mindful breaths focuses you on a short single task to clear your mind, allowing you to refocus, make better decisions and ‘reboot’.
#4 Be in control of your mindful thoughts. When you enter a new situation at work – a meeting, a presentation, your first day in a new job – ask yourself the following questions:
- What is good about this?
- What do I appreciate here, right now in the moment?
- How can I make a positive difference to myself and others right now?
Mindfulness is about picking your thoughts and focal points deliberately. Pointing your mind in the direction you want it to go, not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you. It isn’t difficult … you just need to remember to do it.
#5 When you’re mindful, you reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing your own mind, and increase your attention to others’ wellbeing. The most valuable thing you can give someone is your time, and that someone also includes yourself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Royston Guest is a leading authority on growing businesses and unlocking people potential. He is author of #1 best-seller Built to Grow and new book, RISE: Start living the life you were meant to lead.