I’ll be the first to admit that mindfulness has been the only way I managed to get through the last two months at what, at best, could be described as the workplace from hell. Mindfulness and wine. Mindfulness, wine and having the most wonderfully supportive family a girl could ask for. And cheese. The list goes on. But at work, it is just weird having a Blue Castello in your desk drawer in case of emergencies. If nothing else, your post-it notes are going to have a certain ‘waft’ about them.
Having a boss that screams in your face, threatens litigation or to fight with you if you don’t agree with him, and throws 68-year-old tantrums complete with throwing staplers and slamming fists on the table when he doesn’t get his way is not my ideal way to spend a work day. Also, I may have gotten fired yesterday for standing up for insisting that my employer adhere to workplace law. But that’s another story and one I am happy to put in the past.
Now, I’m not one for formal meditation on a regular basis. I prefer having practical techniques to use throughout the day to keep my mind clear and focused on loving every moment of my life. One of the things that helps quiet the chatter in my head and move through the ‘wtf moments’ is focusing in on the my senses. We get so caught up in juggling every task we need to complete that we eat lunch at our desk, make calls while commuting and make mental lists of more things to do while running errands.
While it is important that we perform our jobs to the best of our ability, it is also important to nurture ourselves so we have the energy and desire to keep going. Living a mindful life does not mean we need to check out of our current lives and move to Byron Bay. Though, if that’s your dream then more power to you. It doesn’t mean you have to embrace hummus and hemp (I say while eating green beans dipped in hummus) but again, if that’s your thing, then off you go and embrace it.
For those of us who simply want to live our existing lives in a more mindful manner before we finally end up shouting “what the fuck is wrong with all of you idiots?” out loud rather than in our heads whilst enduring yet another pointless team meeting, sensory awareness can help you avoid an awkward HR meeting.
Quick and Easy Sensory Awareness Techniques for Mindfulness
Five for Five
Five Mindful Breaths
Remember how I said I do not like formal meditation? That is not because I do not see the value in it, it is more that it doesn’t fit into my lifestyle particularly well. I do love sitting at the beach or near a waterfall and meditating on the sounds and sensations around me, but that doesn’t happen on a regular basis. If I have half an hour free, I prefer to spend it in the company of my loved ones or indulging in a spot of escapism into my favourite fictional worlds.However, focusing in on my breathing has been a very helpful technique for me in overcoming many of the symptoms of my anxiety. If you feel yourself becoming stressed throughout the day, take five mindful breaths. Close your eyes if you have that luxury. As you breathe in, be aware of the sensation of the air flowing in through your nostrils, filling your lungs and exiting from between your lips. Feel your shoulders, stomach and ribcage move as you breathe.
Password to Mindfulness
How many times do you enter your passwords during a work day? It must be way more than five if you are anything like me. Assist your subconscious to keep you mindful and balanced by changing your passwords. Priming your mind to remember to breathe, relax or not put a brick through your boss’ car window can have long lasting, positive effects. Change your passwords to something along the lines of justtake1bre@th and actually do it every time you log in. Type with intent, feel the resolve leave your fingers and find roots as each finger presses a key. In time it will become habit without the reminder.
Sit back at the end of a day, or any time you find yourself wondering why the people you work with are complete numptys, and find five things to be grateful for. Nothing is too small to be grateful for, even if it is simply that you did not die in a fiery accident on the way to work this morning.
If you’re regularly eating lunch in front of your computer, checking your emails and not even noticing what you put in your mouth (keep it clean people, quit making up your own jokes), then just stop for a moment. Just a moment. The whole world is not going to come to a grinding halt because you take the time to be aware of the sensation of eating your meal. Now, we’re not talking a When Harry Met Sally scenario here, we’re talking awareness. Be aware of the smell, the taste, the sound and the texture of your food. Experience the sensations rather than write a review of the café or your kitchen in your head.If you are under pressure and do not have time to stop to eat, then determine that the first five bites of every lunch you eat will be mindful . Or the first three. Just take the time to stop, be aware of what you are eating, how it feels, sounds and tastes and smells. Take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and enjoy being in that moment.
Stop. Take a deep breath and as you slowly release it, scan your whole body for any uncomfortable feelings of tension. Take a deep breath and, as you do so, tighten all your muscles. As you breathe out release the pressure and visualise your muscles relaxing, returning to their natural, relaxed state. Do this five times in a row and imagine yourself sinking further and further into your chair as you relax.