How Mindfulness Can Boost Your Career and Make You Happy
Living in the moment may not be as careless as it sounds. In fact, it may help improve work habits and keep you healthy -- thanks to better focus.
University of California Berkeley says that bringing mindfulness to work can ease stress, boost your emotions and help you avoid negativity. Google went so far as to create a Search Inside Yourself course to arm employees with mindfulness tools.
Mindfulness -- or living in the present -- is a foundation of the Spiritual Life Center at Bentley. Director Robin Olson says it’s easy to find ways to incorporate it into your day, even for the most harried.
Here are some of her favorites:
Fast Company reported that breathing more deeply using the 4-7-8 method can help you stay focused at work: Breathe in through your nose for a count of four, feel your belly expanding; hold that breath for a count of seven; blow out through your mouth for a slow count of eight.
“Be Attentive to Your Splendor,” taught to Bentley orientation leaders, is a contemplative walk based on the ancient tradition of walking the labyrinth.
Your challenge: Be silent for a half hour (turn off all electronics!) as you walk and take in your surroundings. Focus on looking, listening and feeling. You can do this during the day -- on your way to meetings or errands, on your lunch break.
“Look around and make connections,” suggests Olson.
Did you know that #mindfulness at work eases #stress, boosts emotions, lowers negativity #prepareduTWEET THIS
- Be Quiet
Learn how to respect and value others by being a good listener. Practice this with a partner by taking turns being quiet for a full minute while the other talks. This can be done when sharing ideas in a meeting or chatting at the water cooler. You’ll be amazed at what you hear!
A CNN report claims that the best place to meditate is at work because it removes you from the busy, stressed-out world -- even for a minute (or five).
No matter where you choose to meditate, Olson suggests quieting your mind by sitting and focusing on one thing. “It couldn’t be simpler, but it couldn’t be more different from the way we live our lives in constant movement.”
Learn how to quiet your mind with a book like 10% Happier or a guided meditation app like Calm.
- Be Grateful
Gratitude at work is valuable, says a Huffington Post blog. Particularly helpful are managers who value their employees and set them up for success. Catch employees and co-workers doing something right.
When you show #gratitude to coworkers, you get physical/emotional benefits #preparedu #mindfulnessTWEET THIS
Be grateful, and you may even see health benefits. After all, a grateful heart is a healthier heart, according to the American Psychological Association.
Olson set up a “gratitude tree” in Bentley’s Sacred Space where students hung their messages of gratitude. “What started off as barren branches became beautiful and large.”
Start a gratitude journal or use an app like Day One and write one thing each day.
“So much of mindfulness is about experience,” shares Olson. “Just try it for a minute, and see how you feel. The more you practice, the easier it is.”
Read more about how understanding your emotions could boost your career.
Kristen Walsh is a freelance writer and editor in the Boston area with a niche in higher education, health care and small business. She enjoys the behind-the-scenes information gathering and personal interviews that bring stories to life and strike a chord with readers. Her work has been published by the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Huffington Post.