It is a well known that yoga and meditation relieves stress and creates relaxation. But when you are at the office answering email, phone calls, working on presentations, juggling meetings and other tasks, the last thing you want to do is take a break for yoga and meditation, not to mention that your desk is not a conducive space for that. This is where mindfulness comes into play. It is simple and can be practiced in the middle of a hectic day.
Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment and staying aware of what is happening within you and outside of you. With regular practice, you can train your mind to drop into a more aware state which helps optimizes brain function. Furthermore, there is a deep connection between the mind and body, and your mind functions much better when you are in good physical shape and on a healthy wholesome diet. You can reap more benefits from mindfulness in these circumstances.
Here are some tips on adopting mindfulness to feel more alive, present, motivated and engaged through the day.
1) Bring the focus to your breath. Breathing has its own rhythm. Focus on the breath and feel the sensation of the air moving in and out, the expansion and contraction of the chest. If thoughts start to intrude, gently shift your attention back to the breath. With practice, you will be able to do this exercise effortlessly for several minutes at a time.
2) Take an affirmation crash course. If you have a tendency to feel stressed and frustrated then say “I am a very happy and joyful person”. Similarly, if you are prone to tiredness and fatigue you can say “I am strong, healthy and energetic”. Repeat this at several points during the day. Doing this makes you feel empowered and less weighed down by patterns of dark or negative thoughts.
3) Bring your awareness to your whole body and take a body scan starting from the head to the toe. Do it very slowly and take note of how each part of the body feels at that point in time. Repeat this exercise and keep your focus on the sensations within the body. If thoughts start to surface, use your breath to bring your attention back to the body scanning exercise.
4) Take a break from work and go outside for a stroll. Breathing in fresh air for a few minutes – especially in the midst of trees – can alter your frame of mind. If that is not possible, then walk inside the office building, but avoid eye contact with your colleagues. Keep your focus on the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, the movement of your hands, your surroundings etc.
5) Keep your full attention on a single task. Don’t shift your attention to anything else even if your thoughts are causing distraction. If necessary, use your breath to bring your attention back to the current task on hand. Trying to multitask means not being able to give your full attention to what you are doing at present. Studies show that multitasking in reality is quite unproductive, even though we think we are being productive.
6) Practicing gratitude puts you in a joyful state. We have a tendency to react negatively when things don’t go as per our expectation. Become aware of how you are feeling and thinking when you encounter a stressful situation. Practice gratitude at that moment. If you don’t like your office environment, be grateful that you have a job that brings in the money. Gratitude enhances resiliency and makes you aware of what is abundant and what is not, giving you an opportunity to bring a positive change in your situation. It has a positive impact on your creativity, health, work relationships, quality of work and your overall wellbeing.
7) Be in a state of acceptance. Whenever you are in a state of conflict, your thoughts and emotions are in turmoil, which means there is tussle going on between the outside situation and your expectation. When the two don’t match, there is conflict within. Being in a state of acceptance can eliminate anxiety and negative thought patterns. It becomes easier to deal with the situation, learn from mistakes, find solutions and move forward. We become more capable through acceptance and learning. Self acceptance can be powerful. Embracing all aspects of yourself – your strengths and weaknesses – creates more opportunity for you to overcome shortcomings and reach a joyful state.
Even if you are unable to meditate every day, doing the mindfulness exercise through the day has immense benefits. Doing this regularly teaches one to resist distraction, avoid impulsive behavior, become efficient and joyful, improve discipline and make great decisions. So, now that you know this, it is time to hit your inner gym for Mindfulness exercises.
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