By Debra LeClair Psy.D
Mindfulness isn’t just for yoga class. It is way of engaging with the world around us by being present with oneself in the moment that is happening right now. This means moving away from the habit of ruminating about what got said in the lunchroom yesterday or worrying that you might blow your presentation next week. Habits like rumination and worry are borne of negativity and while we think they are necessary to survive and get ahead, they actually are more likely to instead, rob us of our energy and focus.
Mindfulness begins with paying attention to what is going on with whatever you are doing at the time you are doing it. In regard to working with other people, a mindful practice could be simply to ask yourself, “What is the temperature of this meeting right now?” or “ Am I feeling engaged with what is being discussed?” These questions prompt you to become connected with the social dynamic of that moment. But, here’s the fork in the road: Old habits might send you spiraling into worrying about if you have contributed enough or doubting that what you have to say will be of value. In contrast, a mindful approach will simply keep you plugged into what is being communicated within the discussion both verbally and non-verbally. You might find that your comments or questions will flow more freely because most, if not all your awareness is on what is actually happening. This helps prevent your attention from splitting off into anxious thoughts, such as comparing yourself to others at the job site or worrying about not performing to expectations.
Mindulness is best cultivated over the course of the day with simple, meditative practices, such as noting the sensations you are feeling in your back, arms and hands as you sit at your desk or closing your eyes and listening to quality of the sound of your own breath. These are stimuli that are available to us in every second but it is often not where we would think it was worthwhile to pay any attention. As such, these practices may seem counterintuitive to feeling engaged and empowered at work, but studies have shown that mindfulness, when practiced regularly within the context of meditation will literally change the brain. Different neural pathways will be created giving you access to greater calm, memory retention, self-awareness, self-compassion, job engagement and your own stores of wisdom–including those that relate to not only doing your job, but doing your job more happily.
Based on her commitment to human potential, Debra co-founded Full Spectrum Wellness LLC, a holistic health and learning center that has thrived in the Manchester Millyard since opening in 2002. As a certified life coach and psychologist, Debra works with individual clients around career and life transitions. She also works with businesses around stress management, workplace wellness and team building. To contact, please email firstname.lastname@example.org