In some ways, the term "mindfulness" is a misnomer. The goal of this meditation style is actually to live less from the mind (or "monkey mind") and more from intuition, inspiration, and wisdom/compassion.
Meditation and "becoming the watcher" of your mind activity helps you to realize that while you may have a mind, it is not who you are. The key is to notice what life has put in front of you, without judgment. Mastery of mindfulness means your primary focus is on what is happening right now. You can then more fully engage with the present moment, whether it's savoring a cup of tea on a break or handling your responsibilities at work. The mind is no longer fretting about the past or the future; instead, mindfulness of this moment, right now, allows us to fully engage.
Mindfulness can assist us in being much more resourceful, creative, effective and happy at work. Here are six ways to put mindfulness into practice in the workplace:
1. Start Each Day with a Meditation
Instead of jumping right into your day, meditate for at least five to fifteen minutes shortly after waking up. Concentrate on centering yourself, focusing on your breath, and becoming the non-judgmental watcher of any thoughts or emotions that cross your mind.
2. Practice Gratitude
Once you get to work, start your workday by writing down three to five work-related things you are grateful for. Making gratitude a practice helps you to be present; it can also improve your mood, outlook and attitude.
3. Incorporate Walking Meditation into Your Day
Practice mindfulness every time you have to walk somewhere, whether it's to or from your car, to the coffee maker, or to a meeting. Notice every step and sensation, and you'll find that your mind isn't wandering to the past or the future as much.
4. Simple Acts of Kindness
Compassion is a big part of the Buddhist philosophy, but kindness can sometimes go out the window in a competitive, productivity-driven work environment. You can help change the tone at your office by doing at least one nice thing for a co-worker each day without an ulterior motive.
5. Really Listen
Listening attentively is another excellent way to practice mindfulness in the workplace. Many people think about their to-do lists, the next task, or what they'll have for lunch while a colleague is addressing them. Strive to keep your full focus on your managers or co-workers when they are talking to you at work.
6. Mindful Breathing
Mindful breathing is a wonderful way to stay centered and present, especially in stressful situations. If you feel stressed at work, breathe deeply and pay attention to the inflow and outflow of air. Breathing always takes place in the present moment, so bringing your attention to the breath throughout your day can have an immediate calming, centering effect.
The goal of Buddhist mindfulness is to no longer be swept away by thoughts, emotions and mind activity. Use these six tips to practice mindfulness in the workplace and make work a more enjoyable place to be.