Mindfulness in the Workplace

We all have those days. Your alarm doesn’t go off, you stub your big toe (ow!) as you rush around getting ready, only to sit in traffic on your commute to work, with a throbbing toe and two different coloured socks. Have you ever wondered why days like this start and seem to continue the same pattern? Nothing seems to go right, you walk into work late and with your luck, you have a meeting that you completely forgot about. Your boss gives you that glaring “You’re late!” stare and you spill your grande spiced latte down your new shirt. 

Now you’re at work – frazzled, upset that you have two different coloured socks on, spiced latte down your front and you’re completely stressed about being late. 

In this blog, I’m going to discuss some tips that will help you manage your stress, remain mindful of your emotions and your colleagues while at work, despite having two different coloured socks on and the remains of your glorious latte! 

First of all, if you aren’t familiar with the Law of Attraction theory, get familiar. This could easily be applied to your life if you find yourself frequently having these “bad days”. The Law of Attraction is about attracting energy through a “like attracts like” state. If you’re attracting negative energy, the Universe will continue to throw that negative energy back at you without shame. Instead, focus on the positives. If you have a positive attitude by expecting and envisioning happiness, you will attract people, situations and even events that conform to your positive expectations. 

Mindfulness follows the same principle that the Law of Attraction theory does by focusing on positive energy and being fully aware of your emotions, while still being “in the moment”. Mindfulness is defined as: “A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”. Mindfulness is the foundation of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), which is defined as: “The capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”. Being emotionally intelligent is crucial since it is the key to both personal and professional success. 

Emotional intelligence is commonly known to be a key component of effective leadership. It provides you with the ability to be in tune with yourself and your emotions. If you’re stressed, this will help you from lashing out on anyone at your office or in your personal life! Emotional intelligence is the act of knowing, understanding and responding to emotions, overcoming stress in the moment, while also being aware of how your words and actions affect others. This is a very good state of mind to be in, especially if you’re having one of those days.

There are five attributes of emotional intelligence that one must obtain: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, people skills and empathy. Here is a list of how you can apply these attributes day-to-day: 

Act Rather than React: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself!”  You can’t help what emotions you feel, but you can decide how you want to react to them. It’s common for us to experience stress when we feel that situations are out of our control. Stress can wear down your confidence, concentration and well being… which is a bad combination at work and for your personal life. When stress singles you out, take a moment to actually feel your emotions by identifying the aspects of the situation that you can control and the aspects that you can’t. You will find that there will be incidents that are completely out of your control – so why waste your energy stressing over them? 

Take a Deep Breath and Count to Three: Take a ‘zen’ moment. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or are coming out of a tense meeting and need to clear your head, a few minutes of deep breathing will restore balance. Having some greenery or something visually stimulating at your desk can also help achieve this moment of zen. Namaste.

Start Uni-Tasking: With competing deadlines and fast-changing priorities, it’s critical to define what’s truly important and why.  In today’s day, it’s expected that we multi-task and we often take on more than we can chew. Be mindful of one task at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed, you will notice an increase in your productivity and most importantly a decrease in your stress level! 

Be Your Own BEST Critic:  Did you know that close to 60,000 thoughts stream through your mind each day? That’s a crazy number of thoughts, especially if you’re always focusing on the negative. You can help conquer these feelings by understanding why you feel that way. After you have taken a moment to reflect, try to take a positive approach to that emotion. Focus on the glass being half full rather than half empty. It’s going to be hard at first since we tend to gravitate to the negative, but once you allow those negative feelings to surface, you can then connect them to what’s happening in that moment. For example, if you are feeling bitterly envious about a co-worker, reassess that emotion and look at the big picture, ask yourself what that emotion is telling you about your current situation. You might be surprised with the type of “ah-ha” moments that will come your way. 

Open Your Mind, Close Your Judgment: It’s important to address any situation with an open-mind that is free of judgment. When your mind is open through understanding and internal reflection, it becomes easier to deal with conflicts in a calm and self-assured manner. This way of thinking is critical for leaders when it comes to guiding their team. By having an open-mind, it also makes it easier for people to approach you and be honest with you without the fear of being ridiculed.

Show You Care: Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This is especially important in the work place and will help you approach situations with a more positive outlook. Becoming empathetic allows you to recognize how other people are feeling and helps you share emotions with them. Those 60,000 thoughts that stream through our mind each day can make it hard to focus on a conversation, but it’s important to really listen to gain a better sense of how people are feeling. Remember that bad day you had before work? If someone else is in a bad mood at work, maybe they too had a bad day. Instead of being quick to judge, ask them how they are. You might be surprised how easily they will open up and the bonus is that it will make you feel good! Empathy is also important to help you to understand how your behaviours affect others. You should always try seeing your actions from their point of view. At the end of the day, we are human and share similar emotions.

So, the next time you’re having a downer day and stress rears its ugly head – apply these tips to control your emotions. If you find yourself in that position, just remember this quote from Buddha, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything.What we think we become.”  Keep those positive vibes flowing and it is guaranteed that you will see a difference in yourself and in your relationships, both at work and in your personal life!