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  • Mindfulness at Work: How to Approach Workday Challenges Mindfully

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October 8, 2015

Getting into the habit of meditation before and after work can be great for your home life, but the chaos of a workday can make it difficult to practice mindfulness at work. However, being mindful throughout your workday can ease challenges and stresses that come up, which can make your workday and workplace calmer and easier to manage. Here are a few common workday challenges and suggestions for how to approach them mindfully:

Challenge 1: Constant distractions

Imagine how productive you would be if you could just lock yourself in your office all day long without interruption. Unfortunately, the reality of most workplaces necessitates that you must work with others, and that means interruptions and distractions. Your distraction might be the sound of phones ringing, or it could be the all-day hum of people chattering all around you. If you are easily annoyed and thrown off by distractions, try this. Focus on something you can control, like your breath. Zeroing in on your breathing will help you focus on the task at hand rather than zeroing in on the distractions around you.

Challenge 2: An annoying co-worker

If you’re lucky, you get along with everyone at your office and rarely have problems dealing with them. If you’re like most people, though, there’s at least one co-worker you wish would just go away and quit distracting you with gossip or office politics. Instead of engaging with your annoying co-worker, try just listening to the person and think about why s/he acts this way. Turning your focus from your annoyance to figuring out the reason behind the person’s actions will make you less judgmental and less annoyed.

Challenge 3: Lacking a solution

Figuring out a solution to a problem can be infuriating, especially when you are on a timeline and/or you know your boss is counting on you to solve the problem at hand. But getting frustrated doesn’t help you figure out a solution any quicker and may actually get in the way of your creative process. So the next time you are faced with finding a solution to a difficult problem, try this. Give yourself five minutes to just sit quietly and think about something besides the problem. If you can, find a calming piece of music to play during this time and just let your mind wander. Then, when time is up, come back to the problem as if it were the first time you encountered it. This break will give you a chance to recharge, and looking at the problem with fresh eyes will keep you from ruling out any ideas. You may find that a solution you had previously thrown out is actually the right way to go.

Being mindful is about more than meditating for a few minutes everyday. It is a way for you to approach your life, including your worklife, so that you can be aware of what is going on around you and why you feel the way you do. Try these meditation techniques the next time you start to feel overwhelmed at work. For more ideas on how to practice mindfulness throughout your workday, contact us.

Find more exercises related to mindfulness at work here.

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About the author 

Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]