Stop living on autopilot. Practice mindfulness to help reduce stress and refocus.
Think about your drive or commute into work today. At any point, did you arrive at a destination and have that strange feeling of not remembering how you got there?
Research shows that people spend almost 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing. In other words, many of us operate on autopilot.
In today’s busy world, we can often become distracted and overwhelmed with all the things going on around us. Spending so much time wrapped up in our thoughts and dealing with outside pressures means we can lose focus on what we should actually be doing at that time and just being able to enjoy life as it happens.
Mindfulness in one such technique that can be used to help reduce feelings of pressure and regain your focus. At its simplest, mindfulness is about awareness and training yourself to pay attention in a specific way.
When a person practices mindfulness, they focus on the present moment, tune into their senses (the sights, sounds and smells) and purposefully concentrate on what is happening around them and what they are doing.
The benefits of staying present and practicing mindfulness include reduced stress, improved sleep and improved concentration and memory to learn and solve problems more easily.
Here are a few ways you can practice mindfulness to stay focused and be in the present moment during a busy work day:
- When you wake up, spend two minutes in your bed simply noticing your breath. As thoughts about the day pop into your mind, let them go and return to your breath.
- When arriving at work, apply mindfulness when opening your inbox. Emails have a way of grabbing our attention and redirecting it to lower-priority tasks. To get a better start to your day, avoid checking your email first thing in the morning. Doing so will help you sidestep an onslaught of distractions and short-term problems.
- As the day progresses and your brain starts to tire, practicing mindfulness can help you stay sharp. After lunch, set a timer on your phone to ring every hour. When the timer rings, stop what you are doing and do one minute of mindfulness practice. Check out the Smiling Mind app, which has a bunch of modules on being mindful in the workplace.
- Throughout the day, try to get out for a walk. Walking mindfully cultivates awareness of your body while it is in motion. It can help to increase your energy levels if you are tired or restless, and can also add variety when sitting for long periods.
- As the day comes to an end and you start your commute home, apply mindfulness. For at least 10 minutes of the trip, turn off your phone, turn off the radio, and simply just be. Doing so will allow you to let go of the stresses of the day.
- To finish the day, when you get into bed take a few minutes to focus on all the positive things that have occurred during the day before going to sleep. Try not to let any negative thoughts enter your mind so you can end the day on a positive note.
Programmed is a leading Staffing and Maintenance organisation, providing staffing, professional, technical, training and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand with more than 20,000 employees supporting industry.