October is home to World Mental Health Day so, in its honour, here are 9 mindful tips to help you take best care of yourself at work, today, and every day.
1 Mirror Mindfulness
Each time you catch your reflection today use it as a prompt to check in with yourself. Feel your feet on the floor and take a deep mindful breath. Inhale fully, exhale completely. Simple.
2 Office Stress – STOP
If the proverbial hits the fan today at work, I recommend practicing STOP, a pocket-practice taught on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses to help you regain clarity and calm before deciding how to act.
1) Stop and pause. Ground yourself for a moment. Feel gravity pushing you into your seat or stance.
2) Take a conscious breath and bring both palms together holding your hands in a gentle clasp. Feel the warmth and energy of your body.
3) Open – widen the focus of your awareness by observing non-judgmentally what is happening internally and externally. Is there a new opportunity presenting itself?
4) Proceed, or pause again.
3 Start A Done List
We all have a to-do list yet most of us get to the end of the day and look at the mountain of tasks we set ourselves to complete, and then feel a mix of guilt, shame, and failure, as we contemplate all the things we didn’t get around to. Break the cycle of roll-over failure by creating a done list to go along side your to-do list. The idea here is that life serves up all sorts of tasks that were never on your to-do list. So, record every task that you complete – you will soon realise that you have done just fine. In fact – you nailed today!
4 Digest Your Successes
Each time you tick a to-do item off the list (or pop something on the done list) take a mini-pause to celebrate. 10 mindful seconds is enough. The gaps between tasks are important.
5 Call of Nature
Use your journey to the bathroom as a mindful walking practice. With each step feel your feet making contact with the ground and tune into your body. In this way you are teaching yourself the valuable skill of embodiment (presence in the body) and reminding yourself that you are more than a ‘brain on legs’.
6 For a Mindful Commute: Insight Timer
This great app contains an enormous library of free guided mindfulness audios – download it now and listen to one of my most popular tracks: Slow Down on your way home tonight.
7 Tough Day De-Brief
If things really did not go your way today, instead of dwelling in a soup of automatic negative thoughts, and feeding that sense of dread and foreboding for the days ahead, get proactive by completing these three sentences:
1) 3 skills I am learning or developing at work: …
2) 3 people I will positively impact at work this week: …
3) 3 personal values I get to express at work: …
In this way, even if there are some landmines ahead in your schedule, you can commence tomorrow with a clear intention of why you do what you do, and how it is feeding into your long-term vision of your values, life, and career.
8 Gratitude Practice
At the end of the day make a list of three things that you are grateful for. Repeat daily.
(Scientifically proven to improve relationships, mental and physical health, empathy, self-esteem and overall resilience).
9 Bedtime Meditation
Before bed, gift yourself a screen-free chill-down by trying this simple mindfulness practice. Take a seat and drop into the quiet moments, allowing yourself to sense a pause. Reflect on a small or large moment of happiness from the day and allow the feelings to return and be felt in the body.
Take 5 breaths bringing to mind the details of the experience: where you were, who you were with, what you were doing.
As you feel the sensations of happiness in the body, imagine those feelings increasing, and becoming brighter.
Finally, as you visualise tomorrow with optimism, set an intention for how you will move through the coming days.
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By Neil Seligman
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