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5 mindfulness exercises for an effective and creative work environment
Mindfulness is about being consciously present in time, space, body and mind. We know that training mindfulness can create a more efficient and focused work environment as well as counteract stress-related illnesses. It should therefore be of interest for all companies to implement mindfulness in their daily work – which doesn’t have to be neither difficult, expensive or time consuming.
Here, we propose 5 quick and easy exercises to practice mindfulness at work, one exercise for each day of the week:
1) Walk with focus on presence: A short walk will bring fresh oxygen to the body and brain and make us more alert. The variety is good for us and the brain gets a much-needed break to recover. The purpose of the walk is to stop thinking about work and practice the ability of being present in the moment. While walking, we do this by focusing on what we see, hear and feel. What do we smell? How does it sound? What colors and shapes are there? How does the body feel when we move? The trick is only to reflect and not analyze or try to draw conclusions. For example, if there is a woman with a dog, it is not meant for us to speculate on where they are going or why they look the way they do. We shouldn’t judge – only stay focused on our own senses.
2) Sound exercise with focus on breathing: Our breathing is central to all mindfulness training. When you concentrate on your breathing the attention is directed inwardly. Again, the brain gets the chance to recover from stressful thoughts. Soundtracks that teach you how to breathe consciously can be downloaded for free online. If you want to vary this exercise there are also tracks with other themes, such as how to accept your own thoughts or how to become more aware of your body.
3) Games and jokes: To play and have fun might not be so strongly associated with mindfulness, but it definitely makes us consciously present in the moment. Research actually shows that games and jokes at work not only makes us feel and perform better, it also stimulates the creativity and strengthens the team spirit. So why not have some improvised theater during the morning meeting or take a short break for a draw-and- guess game in the afternoon? If you play regularly at work it won’t feel stiff and forced – more likely it will soon become the highlight of the week. We adults are in fact quite childish if we just dare to let it out
4) Stretch: By stretching we get the circulation going and the oxygen supply to the brain will increase. In mindfulness training it is common to draw parallels between stretching the body and stretching the mind – it suggests that we become more flexible and more accepting both to ourselves and to others. Stretching is also good for all sedentary work to ease tensions and prevent office injuries.
5) Paint with coloring pens: Coloring is very relaxing, almost meditative. In mindfulness training, the use of coloring books and coloring pens has become very popular just because it is considered so relaxing. Of course, this simple exercise can be used even at work to prevent stress and stimulate creativity. At work we mostly use our left side of the brain to think logically, rationally and to read, write and count etc. But we also need to activate our right side of the brain if we want to develop and be more creative. By coloring at work we become relaxed and we get to be creative – which contributes to increased motivation, job satisfaction and commitment.
Regular mindfulness training at work gives the brain opportunity to recover and makes us more efficient and less susceptible to stress. By mental and physical exercises, we learn how to be consciously present, but creative exercises can also be relaxing and contribute to a positive work place. Even short exercises of 10 minutes a day can make a difference. We hope that the step to implement mindfulness in your daily work does not feel as complicated now once you have read this.
Tip: Why not give away a box of coloring pens, printed with your brand, as a gift to your customers, partners or employees? Give them a positive experience that also encourages relaxation and mindfulness.
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