The place where we spend most of our day can be infused with mindfulness: Work. It is easy to lose ourselves and this moment in future-oriented thinking about work as simply a means to an end. The good news is that we can also find ourselves and the fullness of this moment at any point in our workday, wherever we are.
Here are some hints and suggestions for impacting work stress, adapted from the book, Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn:
1) Bring awareness to the full process of preparing for the day. While in the shower, ask yourself, “Am I in the shower?” Very often our minds are elsewhere — in a conference room for a future meeting, or rehearsing an important conversation. Instead, re-orient to the physical sensations of being in the shower as it is happening. This can apply to the activities of eating, dressing, and interacting with the people you live with. Just tuning in to the body from time to time can be a powerful practice.
2) When walking at work, take the edge off of it. It may be imperceptible to others, but slowing your walking pace just a little bit and being aware of the physical process of walking can have a noticeable effect on our state of mind. And if you must rush, just be aware that you are rushing.
3) Just pause for one minute every hour and become aware of your breathing. You may also use natural cues in the environment as reminders — moments between tasks, a ringing phone, or downtime at the computer. Use these mini-meditations to just be in the present moment.
4) Notice the transition times of leaving work, and returning home. Before you walk in the door, be aware of the process of “coming home.” Make eye contact with those you are greeting.
Work can be a place where we function on auto-pilot and end up feeling swept away in the momentum of our habits, the day’s events, or reactivity. Practicing mindfulness in our daily work lives brings us back into the equation, fully inhabiting our lives and each moment, regardless of where it is.
post by Laura
Coming Soon: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 8-Week Course beginning February 2011. Call or e-mail for more information and free orientation sessions in January!