Mindfulness creates a mindset where:
- You are able to focus on one task at a time.
- You are less likely to procrastinate.
- You feel calm and in control.
- You are less likely to be distracted.
- You get more done in less time.
HOW TO PRACTISE MINDFULNESS
By using a few simple techniques you can gain benefits immediately.
Two to three hours before starting work:
Include some form of exercising or stretching in your morning routine. Make sure to eat breakfast that includes protein and complex carbohydrates, and avoid consuming too much caffeine. Fueling and moving your body will help your mind to relax.
An hour before work:
Get your home environment organized so you don’t have to think about cleaning the kitchen or making the bed.
15 minutes before work:
A transition time to get into the mindfulness “state”.
- Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine. Perhaps cross-legged on the floor (use a cushion to tilt the pelvis forward) or in a chair with feet flat. For sore backs, against a wall may be more comfortable.
- Close your eyes or soften your gaze. You may like to look gently into the flame of a candle or at a beautiful flower.
- Take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth (big sighs are great). Relax your face, soften your shoulders and unhinge your jaw.
- Return to a natural breath, breathing in and out through your nose.
- Bring your awareness into your body. Where is your breath landing? Is there a part of you still holding tension? Breathe into that space, with acceptance and love.
- Feel your soft breath filling up your entire body, expanding your belly, your rib cage, your heart. Say to yourself “I am breathing in”.
- When you exhale, allow every last drop of air to leave you, saying to yourself “I am breathing out”.
- Repeat 6 & 7 about ten times. Your mind may (and probably will) wander but bring it back gently without any judgement.
- Go back to a natural breath and sit quietly feeling any sensations that have arisen. There is no right or wrong. Everyone is different.
- Open your eyes slowly. Drink some pure water. Start your day.
THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Taking breaks is just as important as the work you do, and what you do on those breaks can help you stay in a mindful state.
- Walk outside or look out the window. Name six things you can see. Name six things you can hear. What can you feel? What can you taste? What can you smell?
- When eating on breaks, sit down at a table away from your work area. Set the table, use proper cutlery and your best plate and glass. Only drink water. Name all the different tastes as the food hits your taste buds. Take your time. Practise gratitude to help with your rest and digest response.
- For breaks at your desk, sit up straight with both feet on the floor, close your eyes and simply observe your breath entering and leaving your body. You may like to count the breaths or use a mantra like “ I breathe in love and joy. I breathe out all that no longer serves me”.
- Diffuse tension in your body and mind by standing up and shaking or wiggling or dancing! The aim is to get you out of your sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight or freeze) and to engage your parasympathetic nervous system (rest, digest and heal). This is where you will do your best work with clarity and focus.