Our team at EAB recently sat down with Perri Strawn, PhD, an executive coach and leadership development expert, to learn tactics for practicing mindfulness at work. During the workshop, Strawn taught us methods for managing our emotions in the workplace and guided us through practices aimed at focusing our attention and renewing our energy during times of stress.
The best part about Strawn’s strategies? You can practice them at a moment’s notice—without anyone knowing.
So whether you’re at your desk with a stack of unfinished paperwork, or in a meeting feeling overwhelmed or agitated, you can perform these three quick mindfulness exercises to calm your tension and redirect your energy.
1. Ground yourself
Grounding is all about bringing your attention back to the present moment. When you’re stressed or when your mind begins to wander, grounding can be a helpful exercise to get back to concentrating on the task at hand, Strawn explains.
To ground yourself, place both feet on the floor, rest your hands in your lap, then simply notice the physical sensation of your body in space. Take three deep breaths. If you’re at your desk, you can practice grounding with your eyes closed. Or, if you’re in a meeting, keep your eyes open, and the exercise will be undetectable to those around you, Strawn says.
2. Engage your senses
You can engage any one of your five senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch—in this mindfulness practice. Consider bringing a drink to your next meeting, like a cup of coffee or tea, and “use your sense of smell to experience the aroma and your sense of taste to experience the flavor,” says Strawn. Or bring your attention to an item in the room to study visually.
Take a moment to fully experience whichever sense you choose to indulge: “Whatever it is, bring all your attention to that sensory experience to enable you to bring your attention fully into the present moment,” Strawn recommends.
3. Pause for a moment
Taking a moment to pause is especially helpful in a meeting or in a situation in which you’re confronted with unpleasant information or any other type of stressor. Before reacting, stop and take a breath. “Apply mindfulness by experiencing [the emotion] moment-to-moment with curiosity and kindness,” advises Strawn.
When you experience an unpleasant emotion, try to experience it as a physiological phenomenon rather than an existential catastrophe. You’ll be better poised to respond rationally after allowing yourself to take a moment to notice how an emotion or a stressor feels, she explains (Perri Strawn Coaching and Consulting site, accessed 9/26/18).
Read more about stress management
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