The simplest way to be mindful at work

The simplest way to be mindful at work

Where do you work?

I’ve worked in many interesting places; bustling coffee shops with loud music and the sounds of the espresso machine and cups clashing in the background. I’ve worked from home in my living room. I’ve worked in an office. I’ve worked while standing in line to get football tickets in Rio!

Maybe you’re in an office or, if you’re lucky, you’re working from a hammock on a beach.  

No matter where your location or what you are doing, you have the opportunity to experience a sense of peace or mindfulness right now by using a simple technique called abdominal breathing.

Mindfulness is about being aware of your experience from moment to moment.

When you’re caught up in your daily activities, or feeling anxious or stressed, your breathing is shallow. It is concentrated in the upper part of the chest. This causes a negative effect on the body by sending a distress signal to the autonomic nervous system, which is associated with the fight or flight response.

When you take a few moments to be mindful by paying attention to your breath, you have the ability to cultivate a deep and even flow of breath, which sends a signal to your body to relax.

The practice

  1. Sit up tall with a straight spine, bring your awareness to your belly and allow it to soften and relax.
  2. Begin with a slow, deep inhalation for a count of three, filling your belly, then ribcage, then upper chest with oxygen.
  3. Pause for second, then exhale from your upper chest, rib cage then belly, drawing your belly in towards your spine at the end.
  4. Pause again, then repeat.

A few cycles of this can instantly change your mood, increase your focus and elevate your energy level. Now get back to work!