Mindfulness has been touted as the stress reliever in the West since Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction became popular in the last few years. Mindfulness has piqued curiosity and become the go-to method for reducing stress. But there are instances where it has been misunderstood. Practitioners may use mindfulness meditation as a form of escape into the present instead of solving problems that need to be addressed at work. Is mindfulness practice suitable for work?
According to Harvard Business Review, some mindfulness practitioners use mindfulness as a means to avoid critical thinking tasks. Some practitioners disconnect from their challenges and retreat into a meditative mindset. There was also a practitioner who meditated so much and accepted life on its term that she neglected to confront underperforming workers in her company.
Students new to mindfulness practice might mistake it for meditation. Meditation is not about zoning out in the present moment. We take time to meditate by bringing the mind’s attention to the breath or to a sense of friendliness to train our mind to slow and to calm down. Our mind is faced with a barrage of thought impressions from our daily contact with people and events at work. Our attention hardly has the time to stop and to rest. By doing formal meditation regularly, we train our mind to take the habit to rest and to be able to calm down from its ongoing restless state.
There is no way to stop thoughts forever. There is only the possibility of taking rest from unceasing thoughts and feelings. From mindfulness training, our minds may learn to be calm enough to work with challenges in our daily life at home and at work.
When Mindfulness Practice Is Suitable For Work
Mindfulness meditation is suitable not only when you are at work but in everything that you do – wherever you are.
Mindfulness practice is not an escape into the present moment without addressing life itself. While regular meditation helps to calm your mind, mindfulness allows the quiet mind to observe the sensations of touch, sounds, feelings, and thoughts in daily life.
Being curious and contemplating your life experiences is what mindfulness practice cultivates. It helps you to connect to your heart. Most of us live too much in our heads. We think and rationalize so many things that life itself becomes a habit and routine. We forget to live and to experience the moments we have.
Mindfulness At Work
When mindfulness is used at work, you can make wise decisions. It is not about accepting being bullied at work or being nonchalant about your responsibilities. When we are mindful, we take care of our feelings without being harsh or unreasonable towards others. But it does not mean we do not take a stand to care for ourselves. It also does not mean to condone lousy behaviors at work if you are a supervisor to a team.
When I began my practice in mindfulness, I had the misunderstanding too to accept whatever comes and be calm. However, with a deeper practice, I learned that we can make firm decisions as long as we are not coming from a place of malice in our hearts. Having mindfulness is to see the situation and to know our hearts. Having a calm and gentle heart is necessary for easy meditation practice. Imagine sitting on your meditation cushion to calm your mind but instead assailed by angry thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness and meditation allow you to immerse in life experiences in a calm and cheerful way.
Mindfulness is completely congruent with the practice of ethics because we don’t want to live with any regrets or guilty conscience right? Explore workplace mindfulness with us.