7 Mindfulness Techniques to Turn to When Work Stress Threatens
Throughout my career as a confidence and career coach, I’ve met with so many people who’ve come to me with the idea that all their troubles will just float away if they had the perfect job. Ride tester for a theme park? Garlic bread technician?
We’d never be stressed in those jobs, right?
Wrong! I’m going to let you in on a little secret: every job has its own challenges, and everyone feels the stress and strain at one time or another.
How work stress affects us is all down to how we handle it. And while even the best techniques and approaches can’t always solve the problem, it can give us the power we need to manage these stressful feelings in the most effective and productive way.
Although different methods work for different people, I’m a big supporter of mindfulness. Why? Because there’s no hocus pocus about it. You don’t have to be spiritual or believe in alternative medicine; mindfulness is simply about being present; it’s about refocusing the mind on the ‘now’ rather than letting it wander and elaborate on the truth. Here are 7 super easy mindfulness techniques that you can try out at home:
1. Breathe: If you’ve never tried mindfulness before, breathing is a good place to start. We breathe all the time (hopefully!), so the rhythm of the breath is a great thing to concentrate on. It gives the mind something to focus on and bring it back to reality.
2. Invoke the senses: It’s funny how many things happen around us that we fail to notice or take for granted. When you’re feeling the pressure, pause and see what you can see, smell, hear, touch, and taste at the time; it helps to put things into perspective.
3. Body scan: This is a similar technique to invoking the senses. Close your eyes and think about your toes, and about every single part of your body as you work your thoughts up to the top of your head. It’s a great way to identify where you’re feeling the stress.
4. Acknowledge Facts: Mindfulness isn’t about brushing stress under the rug: it’s about acknowledging it as it is. While difficult, spend a moment thinking about your problem factually, exactly as it is, without letting your mind wander to possible consequences.
5. Find comfort: Weighted blankets are designed to generate feelings of comfort, warmth, and security, and you can do the same through mindfulness. Focus your mind on the idea of a friendly yellow light that envelops and supports you at difficult times.
6. Switch off autopilot: Have you ever arrived at work and not really remembered the journey? We do so many things on autopilot that the meaning of many tasks has become lost. It’s time to press the reset button and pay more attention to what we do.
7. Think outside the box: When we feel stressed, it’s hard to look beyond these feelings. But seeing the bigger picture can help you to put your problems into perspective. First, focus the mind on you, then expand outwards into your surrounding environment.