by Vincent Low
If you’ve ever been reprimanded for your work, found yourself stuck on a project with no progression or feel overwhelmed at work, you should be familiar with the feeling of inadequacy and insecurity. Today’s business culture demands results and in a society of constant connectivity, such anxieties in the workplace have become commonplace.
Allow me to share with you one habit that I practice. It helps me recalibrate, keep my stress level down and most importantly, stay productive.
This habit, is none other than the art of being mindful.
Research shows that mindfulness is a difficult topic to tackle – it’s a topic that is hard to pin down, and even harder to measure its effectiveness. However I feel that it all boils down to the individual; I’ve found that more often than not, being mindful has been helpful and I believe that it can benefit anyone.
Definitions vary, but I personally like how Berkeley defines this elusive concept:
However, it’s important that we don’t mistake mindfulness for passiveness. Rather than just accepting the consequences of a certain outcome or emotion, being mindful is exactly the opposite – it is taking action to assess our behaviours, thoughts and feelings. Maturity is what it takes to acknowledge that these factors are what makes us human. Practising mindfulness helps us recognise our own limits and how we affect others.
Being mindful is more than just peaceful meditation. Mindfulness, to me, is key to being a better leader and colleague, achieving work-life balance and ultimately, being a much happier person.
Self-awareness is perhaps one of the most crucial parts of being mindful. Instead of reacting out of urgency, step out of that stress bubble and take a breather. One trait that mindful leaders and individuals share is the ability to control themselves in difficult situations and processing their options instead of reacting impulsively. Understand when to push yourself and pull back from work, tapping in on your curiosities and focusing on what feels best for your state-of-mind, instead of frantically trudging through your endless to-do list.
Your work will always be there; be mindful of your own limits and take time to recharge, so that each work session will be much more focused and productive.
Your personal state-of-mind can drastically affect your environment – this especially applies to leaders of a company. In fact, a survey conducted by Life Meets Work, a workforce consulting firm, found that stressed-out leaders leave a negative ripple effect – from employee engagement to business bottom lines – throughout an organisation.
Mindfulness requires you to be aware of your environment. This extends beyond regulating your own actions towards your colleagues and employees, but also empathising with them. Be cognisant about how they are feeling and check-in with your team regularly. This practice will inspire confidence in your team and in yourself as a leader, as well as foster a strong team culture that is effective and supportive.
Mindfulness is also a habit that you can, and should, practice beyond the workplace. Remember, you have a life beyond the four walls of your office! Be it at home or in public, I try my best to incorporate mindfulness into my lifestyle. Aside from giving me the motivation to achieve personal goals, this habit has improved my relationship with others as well.
Some people may say that this is just a fluffy notion. To them, I say: find your own meaning of mindfulness and try it out; maybe you’ll start to get in on this hype too. Of course, I still find myself getting overwhelmed at times. But with every good habit, practice makes perfect. Apply mindfulness in different situations and you’ll soon reap its benefits!
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