overcome workplace stress

3 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You Overcome Workplace Stress

If you’ve found yourself struggling to cope with the day-to-day pressures of the workplace, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The physical, mental, and even emotional exhaustion that accompanies workplace stress is very real, and can have a seriously detrimental effect on your health.

To make matters worse, this fatigue can sap your energy and will to engage with your life outside of work, which keeps you away from the very things that could relieve the pressure you’re under! 

How do you break this cycle? Unfortunately, for most of us the answer isn’t as easy as finding a new job. However, there are ways to learn how to stop workplace stress from getting under your skin, and perhaps none of them is as effective as practicing Mindfulness. 

What Is Mindfulness? 

Mindfulness is an active effort to keep your mind focused on the present moment, during which you acknowledge and accept whatever feelings, thoughts, or sensations you’re experiencing. This process calms the mind and improves focus. At the same time, it relieves stress and helps keep you from being overwhelmed. 

Multiple studies have explored the scientifically proven benefits of mindfulness, which makes it one of the best methods at your disposal to overcome the stresses of the workplace. There’s no barrier to entry: you simply have to learn the basic principles, and you can get started right away. Here are three ways it can make a difference at your job: 

#1. Doing One Thing At A Time  

One of the most powerful elements of mindfulness is the way it keeps your mind grounded in the present moment. This is extremely important when you’re being overwhelmed, as it helps you focus on doing one thing at a time. 

For example, let’s say you’re dealing with the following pressures: 

• An urgent assignment that needs to be completed by the end of the day
• Your boss’s high expectations about that assignment
Anxiety caused by the work you are putting on hold
General dissatisfaction with being put into this situation. 

Taking a moment to become attuned to the present moment helps you achieve clarity about the task at hand. You’ll see that your boss’s expectations aren’t physically in front of you, and you can let them go. Anxiety about the work you’re putting on hold belongs in the future, and mindfulness helps you turn your attention to the work you have right now. Finally, you can accept your frustration about the situation, without letting it block you from moving forward out of it. 

Instead of getting locked up by the pressure you’re facing, you can mentally break it down into smaller pieces that don’t seem as daunting. By doing so, you’re much more likely to do your assignment well, and move onto your next responsibilities on schedule!

#2. Letting Negative Thoughts Pass By 

A toxic workplace hallmark according to Lensa is having your colleagues and superiors unload their stress onto you. When you’re already dealing with your own deadlines and responsibilities, the added pressure of an unreasonable boss or difficult coworkers can push you towards a burnout. 

In these situations, it’s vital to separate their stress from yours. You can’t carry both burdens! Again, mindfulness is an excellent means of doing this. Taking a deep breath and making an effort to simply be present can give you clarity about where your focus needs to be. You’ll be better equipped to shrug off the negativity of others. 

Being mindful is also a key part of not bringing that negativity home. When we’re stressed out, it’s natural for us to get lost in a daze of anxious thoughts even after we leave the workplace. When you’re at home, but thinking about your job, you’re not allowing yourself to relax. This only makes the stress compound over time! 

Instead, practicing mindfulness away from the office allows you to enjoy that time more vividly and actively. This, in turn, allows you to properly unwind and leaves you better prepared to face work the next day. 

#3. Seeing The Bigger Picture 

Even if your job is awful, stressful, and unrewarding, you may have needs or ambitions that keep you from leaving it. Maybe you’re starting off at a company, and you simply need to put in the difficult work until you make it to a better position. Alternatively, you may be working to feed a family, and your sense of accomplishment has nothing to do with what you may achieve at the office. 

In these situations, there’s a bigger picture that you can quickly lose sight of due to the constant stream of anxiety you’re experiencing. Here’s where mindfulness comes in: becoming attuned to the present moment clears the stress-induced clutter in your mind, and helps you keep the bigger picture in mind. 

If you absolutely need to find a new job, finding a secure path out requires you to take things step by step. That, too, is much easier when your focus is on the present moment.

For example, if you hate your job, you’re going to need to have an escape plan. That plan is going to require patience, consistency, and effort – all of which can be enhanced by staying present and focused on the task at hand. Practicing mindfulness helps you endure the wait, and keep your sense of direction towards a brighter future. 

You Can Start Anytime! 

Being mindful isn’t something that requires a dedicated space or routine. While you can certainly build 5-minute sessions into your schedule, the truth is that you can make the choice to be mindful any time. The benefits are extraordinary! I’d recommend checking out our article on how to use mindfulness correctly to learn how to get the most out of this amazing technique. 

Finally, remember that mindfulness is about embracing discomfort, not about being completely free from it. Accepting how you feel, and letting the feeling wash over you, is a more lasting way of coping than simply trying to forget it. If you’re struggling with a negative work environment, this process can help you make genuine peace with it. Once you do, you’ll find that it doesn’t get under your skin like it used to! 

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