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Mindfulness At Work

Question:

How does one stay mindful and calm at work?

Answer:

I don’t know if there is any easy or quick solution to this one. In my own case, I meditate regularly, and it’s my belief that this causes me to be naturally more calm in everyday situations. It reduces my overall stress levels, and this in turn causes me to become less likely to explode when something unexpected or unpleasant occurs.

Mindfulness at work, though, is a much harder thing to accomplish, for me at least. When I am being mindful, everything I do is controlled and deliberate. Nothing is done out of habit or instinct; it’s pure mind at work. It’s also pretty rare that I actually get to that place; usually I run around doing whatever needs to be done, acting and re-acting from instinct and habit like everyone else.

I’m sure that other readers will share their tips and tricks for staying mindful, but I suspect that it really just comes down to practice and effort. The more mindful you are, the easier it will be to be mindful; a definite chicken-and-egg problem.

5 comments to Mindfulness At Work

  • Dan

    Work can be like driving a car.

    “When the light turns red, stop. When the light turns green go.”

    Don’t make the problems in you mind, there is no ‘I.’ Obviously, this isn’t easy…. but keep sitting.

  • Mary

    I keep a little ikon of the bodhisattva avalokiteshvara on my desk, right behind my computer. My eyes light upon it many times a day. In addition, patients often comment on it, always leading to a few sentences (sometimes MORE) of pleasant exchange. These things serve as mindfulness reminders all day long.

  • Jerry

    I try to take a moment before responding to emails or speaking up in a phone conference or web meeting to consider if my comment meets the criteria for Right Speech: helpful, timely, truthful, and with compassion.

    I’m not always successful at this, but I do speak a lot less these days.

  • Michelle

    Being mindful at work is like being mindful anywhere else… I know that everything that happens around me is a reflection of what’s going on inside myself. That belief alone has helped me see the workplace (and every other place for that matter) as perfect, and if i don’t like what I see around me, it means that there is something inside me that needs to be looked at and healed. Crazy coworkers or tasks that I resist doing is all part of that inner reflection. If I heal what’s inside, then the outside is beautiful and perfect, and that includes in the workplace.

  • Jami

    I was asked this question this morning though covering a different setting. A friend of mines brother just exploded at his Mother. He has had a break-down in the past. Stopping his drugs, he was getting better, then suddenly he has been returned to hospital.

    My question is two-fold: ‘how does buddhism deal with mental health issues’and does it provide a ‘non- medical approach to mental break-down’?

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