Mindfulness has become a popular term, but what is it really, and how can we implement it in our daily working routine?
Mindfulness is a tool that research has shown to be effective in reducing stress, depression and anxiety. By practicing mindfulness in our working day, positive wellbeing can be noticed, both immediate and in the long-term.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about being present in the here and now, without judgement of ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or stressing about the future or past. Mindfulness is a practice, which means sometimes you may find it easier to do than others. By doing small mindful activities regularly, you will feel the benefits of reduced stress and the quietening of unhelpful thoughts over the longer term. There are a variety of ways mindfulness can be included in your daily routine.
How to practice mindfulness
Small actions that are meaningful to you are your key to practicing mindfulness.
It’s not necessary to find large chunks of time in your busy schedule to practice mindfulness. Finding a few minutes of time within your regular schedule that allow you to focus on the moment and yourself can really boost your positive mental health for the long term.
Some ideas of simple mindful activities that fit into your daily routine at home and at work are:
- Take your tea or coffee break away from the computer or work situation. Enjoy the tastes and smells and make it a special moment for yourself.
- Be aware of your breath. Set aside just a few minutes to focus on your breath as you breathe in, and out. This can easily be done while you sit in the car before entering your workplace for the day, or between meetings.
- Make mono-tasking a productive meditation. Take a single task you can work on without other distractions and focus only on this for an allocated period of time. It could be a work task, like filing or stocktakes, or even deleting emails. At home, it could be folding washing or washing the dishes.
- Write down what you are grateful for. At the beginning or end of the day, think of, or write down, just one nice thing you feel grateful for. This can improve positive feelings and keep you aware of positive aspects of your day and interactions.
- Play a short meditation audio on your phone, computer or even in the car. There are lots of options available for breathing exercises, guided meditation, or simple relaxing music to help your mind to unwind.
- Focus on the present. Take a walk or run, looking at your surroundings, noticing details in the environment or details of your body – the muscles moving, the breath.
- Set digital boundaries. Schedule time away from your phone and other screens. This can help to separate “work mode” from other life activities.
Try this three-minute mindfulness exercise
Free Mindfulness offers audio files for download. A variety of short breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, body scans and meditations are available.
Information on mindfulness
Mindfulness and mental health
Article by Forbes Magazine
TED Talk by Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe