Are You Practicing Mindlessness or Mindfulness at Work?
What is mindlessness?
Mindlessness is the state of being distracted from or not being focused on the present moment. In the corporate world, hoards of people at the top of their game seek medication and treatment (both natural and conventional) to remedy their symptoms of burnout. The truth is that for many of these people, the effects of mindlessness will still eventually result in adrenal fatigue if they don’t engage in some practice of mindfulness.
Nowadays people are constantly ‘plugged in’, answering emails or taking business calls and attending meetings well outside the parameters of their working hours.
The majority of hardworking people in mainstream Western culture are behind the desk for ten plus hours a day. They often travel extensively interstate or internationally, take little breaks, if at all, and spend their vacations trying to recover from work exhaustion that has taken a toll on their bodies.
Are you experiencing mindlessness?
Without you being aware, you may already be disengaged or oblivious to the other aspects of your life. Here are some signs that you’re experiencing some form of mindlessness:
- You’re barraged with constant, intrusive thoughts such as work responsibilities, an upcoming meeting or which client to call next.
- Your eyes are fixed on the computer screen whilst consuming your lunch.
- You opt for fast food or takeaway dinners while staring at the television.
- You lie in bed feeling tired but wired.
- You keep waking up at night with ruminating thoughts.
- You lack awareness or haven’t been giving quality time to your personal relationships.
- Your weekends (if taken!) are spent only running errands, cleaning the house, taking the kids to sports practice, or attending obligatory social events.
- You drown yourself in alcohol or drugs.
- You fail to notice feelings of discomfort in your body or mind (severe or otherwise).
- Rather than taking a rest, you ignore tiredness and reach for coffee or a caffeinated drink instead.
- You keep forgetting clients’ names only moments after they’ve been introduced.
- You have the habit of ‘listening’ to someone whilst already multi-tasking (i.e. talking to a colleague while typing an email regarding an entirely different subject).
- You’re so focused on achieving a goal that you lose touch of all details along the way.
- You run on autopilot mode. For instance, you drive your car, arrive at your destination and wonder how on earth you actually got there!
- You’re giving attention to 10 things instead of one at a time.
- You don’t know what your passions are anymore.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be described as ‘being intentionally present, without judgment, in every moment’. It means being actively aware of our feelings, emotions and physical state. When this happens, the way in which we see the world (and work) can significantly improve. Changing jobs or cutting down on working hours simply isn’t an option for some. They have a mortgage to pay, kids to send to school, and a family to feed. So how else can the intensity and stress of their lifestyles be better managed or truly enjoyed?
Imagine what a typical day in your life would be like if you were to practice the following mindfulness techniques:
- Wake up, turn off your alarm and avoid social media for a moment. Breathe deeply, listen for any sounds and feel every muscle as you get out of bed. Stretch.
- Smell the wonderful aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Swallow intently and observe how it tastes and feels as it goes down your throat.
- Take your shower and watch the water trickle down your skin. Appreciate your body and relish in the warm sensation.
- Take time to organise your breakfast or work lunch. Collect the ingredients, taste them, be creative, and have variation.
- Look at your surroundings as you travel to work. Watch the trees or the people pass by. Feel the sun and smell the air –pollution, perfumes, the smog and all!
- As you enter the office, notice people’s faces, their hair and clothes as you greet them.
- At meal times, leave your desk and sit outside in nature. Listen to the birds and watch the butterflies.
- Eat slowly, smell your meal and savour each bite.
- Have conversations with your colleagues. Make eye contact and pay attention to their body language and facial expressions.
- Whenever you feel scattered or distracted in the day, focus on something such as your breath. Otherwise, simply stop to take a break and do nothing for two minutes.
Everything around you is constantly changing – the people, the seasons, lights, colours, noises. Notice these the way you would if you were a photographer seeking to capture the perfect shot. It’s like taking a view of the ocean on the first day of your vacation.
When you practice mindfulness, you can set your focus on what really matters both at work and in your personal life. Every scattered piece will stimulate your senses, grab your attention, and fall into place. Only then will you experience balance, harmony and fulfilment in your life.
How mindfulness can benefit you and your workplace
People working in the modern corporate world are expected to multitask and often subjected to high levels of stress. As a result, they experience sleep difficulties, the inability to concentrate, poor energy and failed work-life balance. To make matters worse, they’re more susceptible to cravings, weight gain, high blood pressure and adrenal burnout.
Mindfulness can prevent or slow these health concerns, whilst also:
- Increasing focus, productivity and creativity
- Enhancing attention skills in meetings and at the desk
- Improving social and emotional intelligence
- Reinforcing the ability to manage stressful situations
- Balancing emotions and promoting less reactivity
- Reducing sick days and the need for stress or sabbatical leaves
- Decreasing anxiety
- Reducing the likelihood of depression
- Fostering empathy and compassion amongst colleagues
Mindfulness allows staff and all levels of management to better endure their work day. This means escaping relentless chatter within their minds without fear, distraction or dissociation. Mindfulness ultimately leads to superior staff retention, better teamwork and a generally happier work environment.
What if you need a little extra help?
There are several natural medicines which can assist you to calm the nervous system.
Passionflower is a beautiful herbal medicine and can assist to relieve sleeplessness, mild anxiety irritability, reduce nervous tension and calm nerves.
Rhodiola is traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to help the body adapt to stress, relieve feelings of general debility and supports mental function.
Withania is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as a rejuvenating tonic, helps the body adapt to stress and relieves symptoms of mild anxiety.
Vitamin B6 maintains nervous system health and function.
Each of the following ingredients are contained in our Happy Calm to make it easy to combine these wonderful ingredients.
If you would like to learn more valuable techniques and remedies for addressing stress, anxiety and adrenal fatigue, check out these articles below: