REDUCING STRESS USING MINDFULNESS
REDUCING STRESS USING MINDFULNESS
When we are stressed in the workplace, it can manifest itself in many ways, from the often obvious manifestation in our behavior and moods to the too often invisible impact on the quality of the decisions we make. By tackling stress head on before it can take hold too deeply, we are providing a better working environment for ourselves and for those who surround us.
STEP 1: ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Acknowledging the stress or anxiety we are feeling is the first step to regaining control. Recognize your feelings and give them the attention they are screaming for. This step will help you to realize that you are the one in control here and that you can conquer any panic or anxiety that appears as a result.
STEP 2. STOP
As soon as you recognize your stress levels rising, STOP what you are doing immediately. Don’t worry, this will only take a few minutes and there will be no consequence to any deadlines that may be looming.
Breathe in deeply, concentrate on the “here and now” and listen to the sounds around you.
Ask yourself aloud what is causing you anxiety or stress.
Try to answer this question as honestly as you can.
Voice a solution.
STEP 3: BREATHE
Monitoring your breathing is one of the number one way in which we can reduce anxiety or feelings of panic that can quite often accompany stress. Breathe in slowly, acknowledge the breath traveling in, breathe out slowly and again acknowledge the breath traveling out of your body. Keep your attention on the breath; when it wanders, just gently guide it back to the breath. Expect that your attention will be drawn from the breath dozens of times in even a few seconds; this is normal and really a mark of success—just noticing this loss of attention is progress. Simply notice the loss of focus on the breath, it’s not a failure, and gently guide your attention back. After a few minutes, you will find that you begin to move towards a calmer frame of mind. On tough days, set an hourly alarm and take 2-3 minutes for this quiet timeout; the effect is cumulative.
STEP 4: TAKE A STEP BACK
Take a few minutes to leave the environment you are in and if possible go outdoors for a short while. While you are walking, concentrate on each step you take and notice your connection with the ground below—really feel where the soles of your feet make contact with the ground. If you want, you can also lightly monitor your breathing as you walk. The purpose of the practice is simple: to move you out of worries about the past, or anxieties about the future, and back into the present moments where you have some control over what happens next.
STEP 5: TALK
If stress has become a large part of your day, I would always encourage talking and sharing as part of mindfulness and emotional awareness. By voicing our feelings and describing them, we are already giving them the attention they have clearly been craving and will find it easier to acknowledge and release any anxieties we may have.
These five steps touch on the basics of managing stress in the workplace, and each one can be greatly expanded upon. However, in practicing these five basic steps, we will find that by acknowledging and confronting our anxieties, stresses and feelings of panic, we have already reduced their hold over our daily lives. Practicing mindfulness on a daily basis has proven to reduce stress levels greatly and is the number one priority now for successful brands across the globe.
Deiric McCann is Head of International for Genos International, a global provider of “out-of-the-box” Emotional Intelligence assessment and training solutions. A popular international speaker on employee engagement and productivity, he daily consults with organizations worldwide on improving engagement and bottom line results through enhancement of their leaders’ Emotional Intelligence. He has authored of four best-selling books, the most recent of which is Leadership Charisma.
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