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Ways to Be More Mindful at Work

by Michael Teh

In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are stuck at home – having to juggle with our work and personal lives altogether. In such environment, it is extremely easy to become overwhelmed with the things you have to do while being stuck at home. No one enjoys being “trapped” within four walls for days if not weeks while having to deal with work and personal matters all at once. That said, it would be advisable for us to inject mindful moments into our days where we are able to de-stress and de-clutter our mind as we weave through our work and personal matters in this pandemic. Read on to find out ways you can be more mindful at work while being stuck at home.

“Mindfulness is about being aware and awake rather than functioning without thinking. And when. you’re consciously being present at work, you will start to be aware of two aspects of your moment-to-moment experience – what’s going on around and what’s going on within you.”

In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are stuck at home – having to juggle with our work and personal lives altogether. In such environment, it is extremely easy to become overwhelmed with the things you have to do while being stuck at home.

No one enjoys being “trapped” within four walls for days if not weeks while having to deal with work and personal matters all at once.

That said, it would be advisable for us to inject mindful moments into our days where we are able to de-stress and de-clutter our mind as we weave through our work and personal matters in this pandemic. Read on to find out ways you can be more mindful at work while being stuck at home.

Here are ways for you to be mindful at work while you’re working from home:
1. Be Consciously Present
Mindfulness is about being aware and awake rather than functioning without thinking. And when you’re consciously being present at work, you will start to be aware of two aspects of your moment-to-moment experience – what’s going on around and what’s going on within you.
To be mindful while at work simply means to be consciously present in what you’re doing and while you’re doing it as it helps to manage your mental and emotional state. And to do so make the clear decision to be present as best as you can before you start work. Do pause for a few moments before you begin work to set this intention in your mind.

2. Use Short Mindful Exercise while at Work
Mindful exercises will train your mind to be more mindful and the more you do it, the easier it gets you to get yourself into a mindful state which will optimize your brain function. While busy at work, finding time for a 30-min mindful exercise could be hard. However, do you know that mindful exercise can be as short as you want it to be? You don’t need to close your eyes or be sitting down. Allow yourself to be creative to find pockets of time in the day to practice mindfulness exercises. When pressure builds up, take a short timeout and do a short mindfulness exercise and it will greatly help with your productivity.

And by doing so, it helps to rebalance your nervous system, tone down the fight-or-flight response and engage with the wise part of your brain, where you can make reasoned decisions rather than automatically reacting to situations.

3. Feel Gratitude
Humans have a negativity bias – we are more likely to focus and dwell on something that has gone wrong than on things that have gone well. Being this way everyday would make you have an excessively negative and unbalanced
way of thinking.

The solution: Gratitude. There is many evidence that suggest that actively practicing gratitude helps to make you feel better and create a positive impact on your creativity, health, working relationships as well as your quality of work.

Practicing gratitude makes work and home more positive experiences. And if you feel stuck with a work task that you don’t enjoy, the first step is to practice gratitude. Reflect to see what’s going on well at work, maybe you’re grateful for the salary you’re earning? Even though it may be not what you expected, it would be better than having no salary at all. Being mindful of what’s going well will help you to improve your resilience. Rather than letting your mind spiral into anxiety or depression as you brood over all the areas of what you dislike, feed your mind with gratitude to lift yourself up.

4. Cultivate Humility
The word “humility” comes from the Latin word humilis, which means grounded. That said, humble people have a quiet confidence about
themselves where they do not feel the need to continuously remind others about their achievements.

In fact, humility may counteract to our culture of glorifying those who make the most noise about themselves and gaining our attention. Humility is attractive and no one enjoys being people who sing their own praises but in actuality, people enjoy the company of those who are willing to listen than talk about themselves all the time.

That said, humility is often confused with meekness or timidity however, they’re not the same. Humility is not seeing yourself as inferior, but rather, it means being aware of your natural dependence on and equity with those around you.

You ask how humility is linked to mindfulness? Well, mindfulness is about accepting yourself just as you are and being open to listening and learning from others. Mindfulness is synonymous with gratitude – you appreciate how others have helped you. A humble person is someone who is grateful for the contribution of others.

5. Accept What You Can’t Change
Acceptance lies at the heart of mindfulness and to be mindful is to accept the present moment just as it is. So, you’d need to accept yourself – just as you are now. However, it does not mean giving up but it is to acknowledge the truth of how things are at the current time before trying to make a change.

Personal acceptance is even more powerful when you do so, you’re embracing all facets of yourself which include your weaknesses, shortcomings, aspects you dislike and admire. When you accept yourself, you cut down on energy-draining self-criticisms. Consequently, you will be able to enjoy your successes and smile at your shortcomings. With self-acceptance, you are able to create a clarity of mind that will allow you to work on aspects you wish to improve.

Michael Teh, 22nd June 2021.