Mindfulness in our busy working lives
Mindfulness in our busy working lives
Post written by Paragon Interiors   January 30, 2018

Is your working year starting off with the same galloping speed as previous years, despite having promised yourself you would take time to ‘smell the roses’?

I think we can all relate to the peaceful feeling that we experience when we wake up in the morning, a few minutes before our alarm… if we are lucky. The nothingness that we feel before the stresses of the day invade our thoughts. In that (fleeting) moment, we are completely aware of ourselves – how we feel physically, our breathing, the feel of soft fabric against our skin, the sound of the birds singing their morning chorus, the creaking and squeaking of our homes in response to the sun rising. In that blissful moment, our minds are still and quiet yet completely aware of our surroundings.

Wouldn’t it be nice to experience this feeling at other times during the day?

Mindfulness is the ability to be “fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing” without being overly-critical of our thoughts and overwhelmed by the goings on around us (“What is mindfulness”, 2014). A heightened awareness – whether it be of a particular taste, sight, experience or meditation over a written text.

Mindfulness has been proven in research to be associated with psychological well-being; increased satisfaction with life, vitality, increased self-esteem, empathy, autonomy, productivity, sustained attention and positivity (Keng, Smoski & Robins, 2011). Mindfulness has also been established as beneficial to the improvement of physical wellbeing; lowering blood pressure, improving medical symptoms, reducing pain, improving one’s physical capacity to move and much more (Grossman, Niemann, Schmidt & Walach, 2004).

As a result of the above, it is used as a tool by many psychologists and counsellor’s in therapy, as an intervention by medical doctors and is being adopted in a business context too!

So what are some simple ways to practice mindfulness?

  1. Pay attention to your breathing– usually, the first thing that happens when we are stressed is that our breathing becomes rapid and shallow. Take a few moments and place both hands on your stomach – your diaphragm should move up and down as you breathe. Spend a few moments clearing your thoughts and focus your attention on breathing in slowly through your nose, hold your breath for three seconds and exhale slowly through your mouth.
  2. Mindful walking– spend some time walking through nature. Focus on a tree or flower or another natural object that grabs your attention. Fill your mind with nothing else but noticing the detail of the object – its colour, formation, and arrangement.
  3. Appreciate something new– whether it be a taste, a relationship, a new feeling or experience. Focus your attention on discovering something new in a person, in your place of work or at home (Eckert, 2016).

Incorporating natural and calming elements into the workplace is a good way to cater for mindfulness at work. A quiet and reflective room, where an individual can escape the hub-bub of the open plan and spend a few moments paying attention to their breathing – if they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed – is also a good idea.

For more advice on how to create a productive workplace, contact Paragon Interiors on 011 706 5123.

References

What is mindfulness. (2014, October 8). Retrieved from https://www.mindful.org/about-mindful/

Keng, S. L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health: A Review of Empirical Studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 1041-1056.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.006

Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Health Benefits. A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57, 35-43.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00573-7

Eckert, K.G. (2016). Christian Mindfulness. Retrieved from https://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2016/march-30/christian.