Mindfulness at the workplace

The weeks back at the office after CNY was nothing but stressful.

Hands up those who feel the way I do right now!  I could really use some relaxing yoga session or the likes. 

Of course, stress is all part and parcel of work isn't it?

However, have you ever sometimes reflected on your day and realised how you handled a particular situation could be the cause of your stress? Maybe it's a case of speaking too much too soon? Maybe it is all relative to other events in happening in your life.






The thing about me is when I come under extreme stress, my loved ones bear the brunt of it all. Not the best state as the  working mum's guilt cuts deeper, adding fuel to fire. I snapped at both the husband and the boy so many times across the 2 weeks and horrors of horrors, I cannot remember when I last spent an evening with J with absolutely no distractions. I haven't been putting him to bed and I'm pretty sure he remembers because bedtime is his precious one to one time with me.

And of course, in my case as some of you will know, stress will affect the effectiveness of my IVF treatment. Hence, it is always important for me to mind the stress.

Easier said than done. 

The one thing I value most about my current work place is the people. Everyone is genuinely nice and we generally treat one another like family. We enjoy one another's company and I can truly say, this is one place I have felt like I belong. 

Like all families, there are definitely squabbles and misunderstandings. Pressures and considerable amount of stress are also quite the norm. 

There are times when some people will have better day than others and all it takes is for us to be more mindful of such situations, to make the workplace a tad more harmonious. 

This brings me to the concept of "mindfulness". 

Mindfulness, as mentioned on internationalworkplace.com is a practice that's been inherited from Buddhism. It is about being aware of the moment, the things that's going on and the things that's being said. Search around and you'll realise that mindfulness has become quite the rage where training companies are coming up with mindfulness training because it is believed that being mindful will help in workplace effectiveness.

Google. Other than being known to be a knowledge centre with all that data they have of all of us ,it is also touted to be the world's best work place, and one of the many reasons why, is that they encourage and practise mindfulness.

This article says it all and I love this quote: 

"... the best teams respect one another's emotions and are mindful that all members should contribute to the conversation equally. It has less to do with who is in a team, more with how a team's members interact with one another."
(http://qz.com/625870/after-years-of-intensive-analysis-google-discovers-the-key-to-good-teamwork-is-being-nice/)
In short, to keep stress at bay, all it takes is to be nice. Of course being nice does not mean there will not be hard conversations. Neither does it mean that it will make pressing issues go away. But, I guess what being mindful here means is, it puts all parties in a better frame of mind to solve problems. 

I have been at the giving and receiving end of "mindlessness", and often caught in a crossfire of emails with harsh tones and unnecessary comments.  Not good for one's well-being as I often feel my blood rushing to my brains and heart pounding so fast it might explode. So, here's how I have learnt to manage...

1) Breathe! Whenever you think you want to lash out at someone, or say something nasty because you have been provoked by their words... take a deep breathe! When oxygen enters the brain, you will find that you can think more clearly. 

2) Walk away. If any situation gets tensed for any reason, take your leave. Walk away to clear your mind and return to deal with it when you have cleared your mind. 

3) Accept. Very often, and it always happens to me when I exclaim.." I don't understand why this has to happen...". Well, sometimes things are the way it is and there is really no explanation. Or, the very reasons behind an issue will cause more stress than necessary. So, go by the mantra " what you do not know will not hurt you". Accept things the way they are is akin to letting go, and I am sure it will help to focus on problem solving rather than dwelling on matters. 

There are plenty of articles on how to practise mindfulness  and here they are: 

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-easy-ways-practice-mindfulness.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elyse-gorman/10-easy-ways-you-can-practice-mindfulness_b_8069422.html
http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/10-steps-to-mindfulness/

Let's all try to be nice, so as to make working more pleasant since we tend to spend most of our waking hours at work. 



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