Health Advocate Blog

Using mindfulness to relieve work stress

Mindfulness is the practice of living in, and being aware of, the present moment, free from judgment and overthinking. While it may sound like it is in complete contradiction to work, mindfulness offers a convenient way to help slow down your mind and body to help you better cope with stress and feel more in control of your life.

Additionally, being mindful at work can help boost productivity, improve your mood and job satisfaction, enhance creativity and help you work more efficiently. Sounds great, right? Try these tips to be more mindful at work.

Start fresh. We spend a lot of time at work. All too often, this results in arriving on autopilot and mindlessly running through your same routine. Before you begin your day, take a few minutes to breathe and clear your mind.

Set your intentions for the day. Check your to-do list and determine your areas of focus and the tasks you’d like to—or need to—complete for the day.

Focus your attention on one task at a time. Single-tasking is an important mindful behavior.

Designate appropriate times to check your calls, texts and other notifications rather than checking them as soon as they come through. This will help curb stress-inducing information overload!

Schedule time to check and respond to emails rather than bouncing back and forth between your email and projects. Nonstop checking of emails is the biggest detractor to productivity.

Disable pop-up notifications for emails or intra-office messaging. When you see a notification letting you know you received an email or message, even if you’re poised to not check it right away, it still may cause your mind to wander.

Avoid working through breaks and lunch. You need the time to step away and refresh your mind. They can also be a good time to squeeze in a meditation session, mindful walking or some deep breathing to help you refresh and refocus.

STOP when you begin to feel stressed, overwhelmed or you can’t control your mind from wandering.

  • Stop. Pause for a minute or two, close your eyes and just be.
  • Take some breaths. Focus on your breath and the sensations it produces to bring you back to the present.
  • Observe. Acknowledge the stressors and the thoughts and feelings they produce without judgment.
  • Proceed. When you feel re-centered, continue with what you were doing.

Finish a task completely—or as much as you can—before moving to the next.  Bouncing back and forth between projects reduces your ability to mindfully focus on one project at a time.