Mindfulness is a massive buzzword at the moment, celebrated by all manner of celebs but also fully recognised now by the NHS as a potential means to preventing or remedying burnout, stress and depression. Practising mindfulness in some way could be hugely beneficial to Practice Managers, since it’s built on the premise that by slowing down and paying more attention to the present moment, our mental wellbeing can be improved.
Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, suggests that it is too easy in our busy, hyper connected lives to stop and see things for what they really are, to lose touch with the world around us and how our bodies feel. By ‘living in our heads’ too much, we run the risk of ignoring the way in which thoughts can affect the way we feel and behave. Mindfulness is seen as a reconnection of our minds with our bodies and the world around us. Practising mindfulness starts with making efforts to simply notice things more: sights, sounds and smells.
So how can you be mindful at work?
One Task at a Time
Perhaps easier said than done in your line of work, but try to focus your attention only on the task at hand in the moment you are working on it. Slow both your movements and thoughts until you feel you can give that task your undivided attention.
Look out the window, make a lovely cup of tea, enjoy a laugh with your colleagues or simply allow yourself to enjoy the satisfaction of a little job done well. Literally stop and smell the roses. Making the time to enjoy your work environment and your work itself – where possible – is really important to maintaining a sense of mindfulness at work.
Be Present With Others
If you don’t have time to stop and talk, let them know when you can. If you’re making the time to talk to a colleague – no matter whether it’s chit chat or something work-related – stop what you’re doing or thinking about and really listen to them. That includes turning away from your computer screen if it’s a distraction.
Use Your Breaks
Pop out for a walk, enjoy a good stretch or do some deep breathing. It needn’t distract others! When you’re eating your lunch, do it away from phones and screens so you really focus on what you’re eating and what those textures and tastes are like. Devoting attention to things like this will teach your mind to treat other daily tasks in a similar, unflustered manner.
Mindfulness is all about ‘knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment’ and avoiding that all-consuming sense of tunnel vision that can so easily occur when we’re pushed to our limits. What do you do to distress? Leave us a comment below.