Practicing Mindfulness At Work

“Mindfulness” has been a big buzzword for the past decade. From yoga studios to boardrooms, practicing mindfulness has been shown to have benefits that go far beyond just physical health.

But, what exactly is mindfulness and how can you practice it in an environment that seems to reward the exact opposite?

In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. It offers a way to pay attention to the present moment with intention and without judgement. Oftentimes people think of practicing mindfulness as sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed chanting for hours on end. While meditation is a phenomenal way to practice mindfulness (and you should try it if you haven’t), it isn’t always possible - especially at work. Here are a few ways to introduce mindfulness during your work day.

Stop Multitasking - As much as you may like to think of yourself as an expert multi-tasker, it’s been proven time and again that “multitasking” efficiently is impossible. Your brain can only focus on doing one thing well at a time; so, when you’re answering your email while talking on the phone and prepping for that meeting all at once, none of those tasks are getting your full attention.

Most people know that multitasking is inefficient and yet we still do it because it makes us feel as if we’re being more productive.

Instead, try being a master single-tasker. Focus on one task at a time and write down what you’ve accomplished during specific chunks of time. Once a task is complete, take a moment to reflect on how it felt to finish it and absorb the sense of accomplishment achieved.

Embrace Stress - Studies have shown that the way you think about stress actually changes the physical effect it has on your body. That means that you have the opportunity to flip the script and make stress your friend. Next time something comes up at work and you feel your heart start to race, be grateful that the stress response is energizing you. Take a moment to thank your body for preparing you for the upcoming challenge by sending more oxygen around your body through your accelerated heart rate. Changing your relationship with stress through mindfulness can change your body - helping you stay more relaxed and focused at work.

Slow Down to Speed Up - Imagine you had to stay awake for 7 days straight prepping for a big meeting (some of you may have actually tried this before). With every additional day of no rest your efficiency drops, until eventually you aren’t productive at all. Our bodies need to rest in order to perform at our highest. It’s so simple when it comes to sleep and yet we don’t apply that same principle at work - I’m certainly not saying take naps at your desk, you know where I’m going with this.

Allow yourself to take a few moments throughout the day to take a break; go on a short walk, listen to a beautiful piece of music, do a bit of micro-meditation. Just watch as your brain becomes even more productive, focused, and effective at communicating with others.

I know that saying things like “make stress your friend” are much easier said than done. Work can be a major trigger for anxiety and you may feel as though the idea of slowing down to even take a breath at the office is laughable. If you need extra help slowing down or want a safe space to discuss your workplace anxiety, you can either email me at or call my office at (310) 614-0323.