A three minute mindfulness break at work could be the key to beating the midday slump and turbocharging productivity, a leading life coach has revealed.
Whether it be endless meetings, looming deadlines or difficult co-workers, the working day can often leave people feeling frazzled.
But health and life coach Heidi Hauer says incorporating a mindfulness routine into the working day can help to transform how you feel even during periods of intense stress.
Heidi said: “The beauty of mindfulness is that it can be practiced anywhere, anytime.
“Mindfulness in essence is about putting your attention and awareness on the present moment while acknowledging what is happening right now. You’re observing yourself and others rather than fixing it, planning ahead or being too engaged.”
As the practice can be challenging, Heidi advises practicing mindfulness in the morning, rather than jumping straight in before an intense meeting or stressful task.
She said: “Once you’re familiar with the concept of meditation and the notion of sitting still and turning the gaze inwards, the practices throughout the day will be far easier for you.”
Heidi recommends putting your attention towards three areas; yourself, other people and the work itself.
She said: “Without analysing, look at what is showing up right now. What are your thoughts? Are you feeling heavy?
“What are the physical sensations you are feeling? How are your shoulders doing? What about your stomach, your legs and your head? Identify physical sensations right now. It’s a good way to anchor yourself in the moment.
“Then ask yourself, what do I need right now, at a physical level, to feel good or better about myself? What do I need emotionally to feel confident or more safe?
“What do you need at a mental level? Do you need calm and quiet, or do you need mental stimulation? It’s about getting to know yourself really well. Not in terms of analysing yourself at a rational level, but by connecting deeply with yourself.
“Then ask yourself ‘What does my body need right now? Sometimes it’s a glass of water or a cup of tea, sometimes it’s going outdoors and getting some fresh air. You might want to do some breathing techniques.
“These are neither rocket science nor take a long time and you can do them throughout the day.”
The next area to focus on is your colleagues and the team around you, with Heidi advising to notice – but not analyse – what is happening in the team or organisation in the moment when you take a mindful break.
She said: “Really observe yourself as part of the group. Are there any power plays going on? What do you notice when you look at the group from a distance? What does the team or group need in order to feel better? It’s really about staying in this very moment.”
The third area to focus on is projects and tasks.
Heidi said: “Being mindful really means paying attention to the here and now. Either to yourself, other people, or what is happening with the work itself.
“When it comes to our professional lives we often think the power and influence we have comes in fixing things. And to some extent that’s true, but also the real difference you make when you are fully present.
“There is a big difference between dialling into a meeting, and really being present. You might say there’s too much to juggle at the time, and that multitasking is the only way to survive. Do you need to be in all those meetings? Do you need to carry all those responsibilities?
“Go through your commitments and decide about what really matters to you. Where can you make an impact and difference? Be more selective about what you dedicate your time to. What counts at the end of the day is your level of fulfilment. The more mindful you are, the higher the chance that your input really is of great value.
“Besides the day to day tuning in, I want to encourage people to do that before meetings.
“Make sure that whenever you have a meeting scheduled in, you also schedule in time to connect with yourself. Understanding that the power comes from within, as cheesy as it sounds.
“Mindfulness is not only a tool to create more impact but most importantly a tool to give you a deeper level of fulfilment.”