Mindfulness at Work

How to work wonders on creativity, calmness, and communication in just 10 minutes a day

Ever have one of those days when you wish you had more hours to get your work done, or maybe an extra set of eyes so you could stay on top of your Inbox? We’ve all been there. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed while juggling responsibilities and deadlines. The Stress Monster is a convincing little fella, and chances are you’ll react with a fight or flight response when it makes an appearance.

beat stress in the workplace

Stress Monster, by Nick Leonardi

Turns out the best way to conquer the beast is to, well, be. Just be. Be still, be present, be aware and non-judgemental – mindfulness in the workplace is your ticket to a healthier, happier work day (with many benefits outside of the workplace, too). Based on our experience at T4G Kick:

  • Mindfulness helps tap in to creativity. Being creative on demand doesn’t always come naturally. Mindfulness helps overcome habitual ways of problem solving and access strategies for generating ideas
  • Mindfulness helps bring about calmness and composure. It’s pretty common to get nervous before big presentations or at networking events. We look to mindfulness for stress management
  • Mindfulness improves communication. Being focused during conversations, listening, speaking with intent, practicing patience – we’re more likely to build on the ideas of others than get lost in our own thoughts and prejudice when we use mindfulness techniques

What is Mindfulness, Exactly?

James Torbert, Co-Director of the Atlantic Contemplative Centre and the Waves of Compassion Association, has been practicing mindfulness since 1969.

“Mindfulness is the discipline of being present, and practicing it gives us the tools to learn how to work with our busy minds. The discipline is letting go of the conversation you’d normally have with yourself and getting used to and familiar with being present. It’s about bringing mindfulness into your life rather than approaching it as a means of escape.”

He believes there are many benefits to practicing mindfulness in the office.

“Mindfulness is easily translatable to everyday experiences and immediately accessible as a tool. For example, doing just one thing at a time is part of practicing mindfulness. When we start a task and get pulled away from it, going back to the original task is usually more challenging and time consuming than if we’d stuck with it in the first place. Create a to-do list to help with self-awareness – this way you’re acknowledging what’s happening and have a tool in place to help. This is mindfulness at work.”

The Centre offers free mindfulness group practice opportunities throughout the Halifax region.

How to Use Mindfulness at Work

With guidance from T4G’s Rickey Pannell, a member of Halifax’s Shambhala community and practitioner of mindfulness meditation, we’re one of the companies using mindfulness as a technique for improving workplace culture and innovation. Here’s how to get started:

Set a timer – If you’re a beginner, 10 minutes is a good place to start. If you’ve got 10 minutes a day to practice, that’s fantastic. If not, try three times a week.

Get in position – Sit in a comfortable chair with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle and your feet on the floor. Lift and drop your arms naturally on to your legs – wherever they fall is a good indication of where they should rest while you meditate. You can even do this right at your desk, if you wish.

Relax – Tuck your chin slightly, elongate your neck, and feel your spine lengthen. Gently push your shoulders back to open your chest. Soften your eyes (unfocus them and let your eyelids relax so they are not closed but not fully open). Breathe in and breathe out through your nose or mouth (it doesn’t matter which) and focus on your breathing.

Be kind to yourself – thoughts will come and go. Acknowledge them and then let them pass. Say to yourself, “Ok, I’m thinking.” Keep focusing on your breathing, in and out, in and out. Trust yourself to be present in the moment.

There’s an app for that. Start your mindfulness journey on Headspace and unwind anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

We can help your business be innovative, too. Contact brigid.mcwhirter@t4gkick.com.

Brigid McWhirter

Brigid McWhirter

Brigid’s creativity, enthusiasm, and experience help her share engaging stories that draw in and stay with her audience. With a strong foundation in English literature, education, and tourism, Brigid’s drive to stay on top of changing tools and trends helps her keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital environment.