With so many ways to be ‘connected’ at all times, on our laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and everyone seemingly busier than they’ve ever been before with work and their personal lives, it’s easy for stress levels to rise and our focus to get a little skewed. Stress at work can be damaging, not just to the individual’s health but to company efficiency. Mindfulness meditation is a highly beneficial way to reduce stress, anxiety and improve your focus. It can also help sharpen your concentration as well as help you deal with negative emotions.
The stress and fast pace of modern living can leave us continuously worrying about past problems or future anxieties and mindfulness is about learning how to focus on the moment rather than “living in our heads”. By connecting to the present moment, and calmly observing our breathing, thoughts and feelings so as to become directly aware of them, enables the mindfulness practitioner to better manage and control them. Gradually we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over, and realise that those thoughts are simply ‘mental events’ that do not have to control us.
So, if you’re feeling stressed and need to regain some calm and focus, here are a few simple steps to follow to practice mindful breathing:
- Find a comfortable position – whether seated on a chair on sitting on the floor. Sit upright with your hands resting where they’re comfortable.
- Notice and relax your body – let yourself relax and be aware of yourself, where you’re sitting and how you feel. Breathe and relax any areas of tightness in your body.
- Tune in to your breathing – calmly feel the natural flow of your breath, concentrate on calmly breathing in and out, and notice the sensations of each breath. Observe where you feel the breath in your body, it might your abdomen, your chest, or your throat. Notice how one breath ends, and naturally the next breath begins. As you breathe, you may notice that your mind starts to wander which is perfectly natural. Notice that your mind has wandered and just try and redirect your focus back to your breathing.
- Stay here for around 5 minutes – continue to notice your breathing, in silence. Again, notice your whole body and let yourself relax even more deeply, and show yourself some appreciation for finding those few minutes for mindfulness meditation.
Following these simple steps on a daily basis can be extremely beneficial for your mind and have a very positive effect on you and your workplace wellbeing.