Fight Stress with Mindfulness Exercises at Work
Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Do at Work Today
Stress is the one thing that unites all of us humans. No matter what your job, there are times when life is just too much and many are starting to explore mindfulness exercises to do at work to fight back against the stress.
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by staying in the present moment. When you know how to practice mindfulness, and understand the power it has, you can begin to enjoy its benefits in the workplace and beyond.
The Stress Stigma
Admitting that the hard days are a bit too much can be difficult because succumbing to stress is often (inaccurately) viewed as weak. There is an undeniable stigma about how employees deal with stress. 64% of Americans reported feeling stressed at work in a late 2018 Ipsos poll. Fortunately, almost the same number of employees (58%) feel supported to maintain or improve their health and wellbeing by their superiors.
The effects of stress are undeniable. Stress can cause low productivity at work, which creates an undesired ripple effect. As employees produce less, management becomes more involved. Morale can sink and a work environment can become toxic.
One way to fight both stress and stigma is with mindfulness. As it becomes more popular, more workers are beginning to understand that it’s okay to find ways to manage stress and that stress doesn’t have to be a constant source of negativity in the workplace.
How Mindfulness Helps at Work
How does mindfulness help stress? The practice can help in several ways.
Keeps you feeling healthy
Because work is one of the main sources of stress, practicing mindfulness at the source is a smart way to fight back. A small study conducted by Harvard scientists showed that 15 minutes of mindfulness a day can lower blood pressure while other studies suggest the practice can help you fall asleep faster or even lose weight. Learning to manage stress is a positive step towards overall health and the associated benefits can be felt immediately.
Brain fog disappears
It’s nearly impossible to focus on a task when the brain is being pulled in a dozen different directions. But being able to stay in the moment and block out worry and stress leads to clarity and more productive work.
See the bigger picture
Stress doesn’t tend to stay at the office. It shows up at home as well and interferes with family time and relaxation. Reducing stress through mindfulness makes it easier to achieve work and life balance. Regular practice of mindfulness can also increase motivation and improve engagement at work and home.
How to Practice Mindfulness at Work
There are dozens of ways to incorporate mindfulness in the workday. Here are some examples of mindfulness exercises you can do at work.
- Sit on an exercise ball so you’re focused on your posture and breathing. When you need to take a mental break from your work, try this breathing exercise. Breathe in for three counts, hold for three counts, and exhale for three counts. Practice this breathing technique for one minute at first, and slowly add additional time with each session.
- Take a walk during your lunch break, focusing your mind on only the objects you’re walking by. When your mind begins to wander, bring it back to the present.
- Stop multitasking. Interruptions can immensely slow down productivity by making you lose focus. Start “batching” your emails to cut down on multitasking. Respond to them at four designated times during your workday instead of stopping what you’re doing every time you hear a beep from your phone.
- Actively listen to coworkers. Focus on what they’re saying instead of thinking of a response or solution. You’ll quickly find you spend more time thinking than listening but keep working towards focusing on only the conversation.
Stress and burnout are real issues in today’s workplace. Luckily, mindfulness is a tried-and-true solution. Start with one of the above listed mindfulness tips and exercises. As you begin to see results, add more until mindfulness is your new constant.