How to Use Mindfulness In A Working Day

So it’s the first day of your working week – how are you feeling?  Mindful or Mind Full?

Admittedly on the surface reconciling mindfulness with the demands of a busy working day may be viewed as a nigh-on impossible task.   If mindfulness is the antithesis of multi-tasking and multi-tasking is how many people get through their working day then how can mindfulness be incorporated into someone’s daily routine?  Some time ago I wrote a post offering advice about how to incorporate mindfulness into a day of parenting little ones.  This time I thought I’d make some suggestions to help with a day in the office, or the classroom, or wherever your work takes you!

Before going any further it may be helpful to explore what mindfulness actually is.  Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as:

“paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, non-judgementally.”

Dr Mark Williams adds that mindfulness can help us to examine ‘the weather pattern in the head’.   It can be viewed as ‘checking in’ with yourself like a compassionate friend or family member might.

people in front of macbook pro

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

There’s no reason why we can’t all try to gently introduce mindfulness into our own lives as we go about our daily routine at work.  Here’s  three ways to get started:

 

And breathe

Now this may sound incredibly obvious but it is amazing how often we hold our breath or breathe fairly shallowly.  So next time someone or something is testing your patience  try tuning in to your breath and noticing the ‘in’ and the ‘out’ for a few moments.  You may even want to start to lengthen the out breath, which is said to help lower cortisol levels.  Connecting with the breath is a fundamental part of mindfulness practice.  One of the most effective tools a busy professional can use is a STOP practice.  This ‘does what it says on the tin’ and is a mini practice which can be fitted in to a busy schedule.  Next time you STOP remember to:

  • be Still
  • Tune into the breath
  • Observe your thoughts and any feelings in that moment (but try not to get involved in them)
  • Proceed with your day with a little more moment-to-moment awareness and self-kindness

 

Go for a mindful walk

Set your mobile phone timer for 5 or 10 minutes at lunchtime and take yourself out in the fresh air for this time. Get out of the classroom or the office or where ever your place of work is and try to look at the world with a child-like curiosity and as this article emphasises we can learn a lot about mindfulness from children.   Walk without a purpose.  This activity may give us time to tune out the constant thought stream in our head and to try and use our senses more, focusing on what can be seen, heard, smelt and touched. Take the opportunity to have a fresh perspective on the paths that are trodden everyday, notice new things if you can.  This will, most likely, refresh you for the afternoon.

 

Stretch

Regular gentle movements like shoulder rolls, side bends, or raising the arms over the head can help people to notice areas of tension and discomfort in the body and respond accordingly.  You may also choose to breathe into these areas of tension and bring your awareness to the different sensations that there are in the area that you are moving.  Always be aware to not push yourself too hard and only do what feels comfortable.  These movements can be done at a desk or on the move and are a way of counteracting the idea of us living like a ‘brain on a stick’.  They go some way to re-connect mind and body if done with awareness and curiosity.

 

Do you do any of these things during your working day already?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

handwritten Hayley

16 Comments

  1. November 17, 2018 / 9:34 am

    Mindfulness. It’s a bit of a buzz word at the moment isn’t it. When I looked into it, I was pleased to realise that I was already well on the way to true mindfulness!
    #thesatsesh

  2. November 17, 2018 / 10:13 am

    Brilliant tips. We are using GoNoodle in school to give us some moments of mindfulness too. I want to introduce mindful moments at the start of our staff meetings too. Thanks for sharing. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 18, 2018 / 9:08 pm

      I think a mindful pause at the beginning of a staff meeting is an excellent idea. I’d love to hear how it goes xx

  3. November 17, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    Really good advice, and things that can be incorporated into what might be seen as a stressful situation. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 18, 2018 / 9:07 pm

      Yes, thank you!

  4. November 17, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    Great post Hayley, we should all do a lot more of this -getting outside with the additional benefit of being more in touch with nature and getting (hopefully) some natural daylight onto our skin too

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 18, 2018 / 9:07 pm

      Exactly and thank you xx

  5. November 17, 2018 / 7:02 pm

    Great post Hayley! I try to practise mindfulness each day to give my brain the needed break from little children (or big teenagers) calling my name! #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 18, 2018 / 9:07 pm

      Thanks, yes this is the pause we need from the constant demands on us! xx

  6. November 17, 2018 / 10:02 pm

    Sometimes going through the breathing and walking away can make a huge difference to your mental state and the way you perform X #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      November 18, 2018 / 9:06 pm

      Indeed Xx

  7. November 19, 2018 / 1:36 pm

    I think people can be quite quick to react. If we all took the time to do this exercise then perhaps greater and better things would happen. #thesatsesh

  8. mackenzieglanville
    November 21, 2018 / 3:00 am

    I think you know me well enough now to know I am a big fan of mindfulness and its benefits, i always lived in my head and worried constantly about the future, it really helps pull me back to right now and notice more wonderful things around me at any given moment. #thesatsesh

  9. November 21, 2018 / 7:48 pm

    #thesatsesh wise and simple – words that i find often go together.

  10. mackenzieglanville
    December 16, 2018 / 8:44 am

    mindfullness is something I continue to practice everyday, it has become like the heart of my wellness goals #BlogCrush

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