Mindfulness at work

I recently gave a presentation on how we can apply mindfulness at work in one of my workplaces. Mindfulness refers to being in the moment and paying attention, on purpose and non-judgmentally. It can help us gain more from our work, learn more and relate well to colleagues or clients. In fact, it can help us tap into the abilities of our mind.

Here are my thoughts on mindfulness at work!

You can practice mindfulness at work via:
• Listening mindfully – remember to focus and listen actively to others.
• Being mindful of the language that the other person uses to more readily understand them.
• Practising mindfulness of your own thoughts and feelings, your body language and the words you use.
• Being mindful of your needs and needs of others.
• Using mindful breathing regularly to relax and deal with uncomfortable feelings.
• Being mindful of your intentions – what are the outcomes that you want?
• Reflecting on yourself and your work mindfully.

Consider this example at work – you are in a meeting, and listening to someone talk about their views which are different to yours. You find yourself feeling irritated and have to contain yourself from being snappy with them. If you apply mindfulness, you would notice yourself becoming irritated, be aware of what you are feeling in your body, and thinking. You might then recognise an old pattern of responding in you, and maybe a pattern in the other person. You might better understand what is going on and be able to choose how you want to respond.

We can also tap into mindfulness to help us deal with difficult interactions or conflict, using these strategies:
• Being fully present, listen and observe mindfully.
• Validating the other person mindfully.
• Being open to awareness and take a non-judgmental stance (leave behind assumptions, needs, expectations).
• Focussing on understanding the other person’s perspective, meaning (but don’t mind-read).
• Staying in the moment (don’t bring in the past) and stay with the topic.
• Acknowledging what is being communicated by reflecting feeling and content (use the other person’s language).
• Problem-solving (exploring possible options, and finding the best possible solution).

Remember that it is important to practice mindfulness regularly at work – try a few minutes of mindful breathing each day, or practice staying with the topic in discussions or meetings. Maybe the work place would be interested in having regular mindfulness practice in groups.

In conclusion, mindfulness can lead to:
• Better relationships, reduced conflict, less reactivity.
• Greater attention & clarity, as well as greater productivity.
• Improved decision-making and creativity.
• Reduced stress and more compassion for yourself and others.
• Improved leadership, greater insight & flexibility.
• Greater openness to new possibilities.
• More ‘flow’ experiences, and overall more enjoyment!

So why not start using more mindfulness in your life? You can find out more about mindfulness in my new e-book, ‘Meditation and mindfulness What’s all the fuss about?” available from this website.

Reference: McKenzie, S and Hassed, C. (2012). Mindfulness for Life. Exisle, NSW.

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