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How to Incorporate a Mindfulness Practice In Your Homeworking Routine

Working from home can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it entails a series of definite advantages. Not having to commute, for starters. But also being so close to the kitchen means one can work with one’s favourite tea selection at hand! However, being stuck indoors for long periods of time can create low-grade anxiety. Not to mention the constant flow of distractions, which might (rightly!) make us lose our cool. And when stress levels are high, our attention span suffers.

The key is creating the right environment – and that doesn’t mean just a tidy desk or organised working space. Tending to our inner environment is just as important. Many important CEOs know this and have incorporated mindfulness practices in their morning routines. Mindfulness is about consciously directing our attention to the present moment. Even if our mind tends to wander to “anywhere but here”. Below are a few simple tricks you can use to improve your attention span today. They’ll help upgrade both work output and mental wellbeing, too!

CLEAR YOUR MIND

Morning meditations are a great way to start the day with an empty mind. Empty mind=no inner chit-chat, so your first few hours of workflow will benefit from more focus. But you don’t need to be an avid Yogi or a Zen master to meditate. There are plenty of simple and effective ways to incorporate practice in your daily routine. For instance, scent meditation is a quick and powerfully effective technique.

Instead of gulping down your morning coffee/tea while reading the news or listening to the radio, take a few minutes for yourself. You deserve them! Sit down, wrap your hands around your mug and take some time to “smell the coffee”. Inhale the pleasant scent coming from your beverage with your eyes closed. If any thoughts distract you from the scent, notice them and then bring your attention back to the scent, and your nostrils. Inhale again. Exhale. Inhale. And so on, until you are fully present in the room. Really enjoying your cup of coffee with all your senses.

The effect of a scent meditation is nearly instant. And for purely physiological reason. Unlike the other four senses, our sense of smell is the only one to have direct access to the amygdala. Which can be referred to as our brain’s “smoke alarm”. So, although unconsciously, our sense of smell is the first to alert us to danger. Which means it also has maximum calming power. Yes, the aromatherapy lovers were onto something all along. Try it out!

CULTIVATE ATTENTION

Some say attention is our most precious commodity. Others say it’s the most basic form of love. However one wants to see it, attention is the currency that makes the world go round. So it’s important to make sure you create the right environment for it. If you can, work in a separate room from where you sleep. If not possible, try and create a division within the space you’re working in.

The most important thing you can do, however, is a plan to tackle your workload in small bursts of 25/30 minutes. Then, take a 5-minute break, during which you can check your emails/WhatsApp messages. This is called the “Pomodoro technique”, and was devised in the 80s to increase productivity. It’s aimed at training your brain to eliminate distractions and focus energy on the task at hand. Ultimately, you’ll avoid burnout and create a better work-life balance.

If you can, when you’re focused on your work, put your phone in flight mode. Or away from your desk. Studies show that the mere presence of your phone by your side reduces your cognitive capacity. Every time the phone interrupts you and you lose your focus, it takes at least 64 seconds for the brain to resume concentration.

FEEL GRATITUDE

Whether you want to try this as soon as you wake up, or before you hit the hay, our advice is to … do it anyway. Is it unrealistic to find things to be grateful for right now? Not at all. In fact, it might well be a lifeline to sanity. It might seem far fetched, as the world as we know it is falling to pieces. But just the fact that we have a roof over our heads, have a job to do, and that we got to wake up this morning is truly remarkable.

The best stress management tool in this respect? Journalling. Writing something as simple as a “Daily Gratefulness List” can be a life-changer. Studies have shown that journaling helps the body heal physically. And it can also help us integrate our emotions, contributing to our mental wellbeing. Brain scans show that people who journal can experience an emotional catharsis that can help release bottled up emotions. And, in the long term, journaling allows becoming more in tune with the needs of both mind and body. For a happier, healthier life.

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60 thoughts on “How to Incorporate a Mindfulness Practice In Your Homeworking Routine”

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