No, I'm not talking about stopping to lead your whole office in a meditation. (Although, hey, maybe your employer would allow that.) I'm talking about a few things you can do throughout the day that can help you stop the stress and pressure from ruining your day (or week or month). Kristin Wilson, MA, LPC, CCTP, RYT, chief experience officer at Newport Healthcare, adds that mindfulness can provide stress reduction, self-control, and concentration improvement, and it can lead to an overall improvement in well-being.
So what exactly is it? Well, simply, it's being aware of your thoughts but not getting super worked up about them. "Mindfulness is a state of mind that is neutral, nonjudgmental, and observational," explains Mae Casanova, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and Frame community therapist. "When we are coming from a place of mindfulness, we are able to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment and without suppression. Mindfulness allows us to validate the thought, feeling, or experience that's coming up for us while not over-identifying with whatever unhelpful initial reaction we may have."
It also gives us the opportunity to find peace in even the most distressing of times and helps us find our centers, says Richard-Michael Calzada, LPC, of Connections Wellness Group. "It also allows us to remove unnecessary complications from our lives and defuse our everyday anxieties and uncertainties, he adds.
Peace in a stressful work environment? Well, sign me up for mindfulness, then. Casanova says it's essential to practice mindfulness at work. It can help us be aware of our initial emotional responses and be intentional with our behaviors. And it helps give us a different perspective, or a bird's-eye view, of the situation so we can limit how we're internalizing or personalizing situations. "For example, from a mindfulness state, when our boss sends an email that we interpret as passive-aggressive, we can manage our response to that email in a more emotionally settled way. Instead of, 'This is a passive-aggressive email,' it can just be 'an email.'"