We’ve recently been inspired by an event one of our wonderful clients hosted – Adventures in Mindfulness at Oglebay Resort. Cory Muscara, a mindfulness expert, headlined the retreat, which aimed to “make happiness easier for more people by blending eastern wisdom with western science in a way that is comprehensible, usable and penetrating.”

We love testing new strategies at Frances Roy — for our clients and for ourselves. The drain of a typical 9-5 can test your patience and your creativity, but we think mindfulness could be the cure.

Let’s consider the hard numbers:

  • Mindfulness dates back to 400 B.C., but scientific interest has sparked recently.
  • As of 2012, 11% of American workers practiced yoga, while 8% practiced meditation.   
  • Mindfulness practice has been proven to treat many ailments, including: chronic pain, anxiety, and emotional stress.
  • According to a recent survey, people make, on average, 15 decisions every day in a mindless frame of mind with 96% of respondents reporting operating on autopilot daily.

Each day, we are surrounded by attention grabbers. Consider your typical quest to find a new series on Netflix. Are you only staring at your screen sifting through new content, or are you also researching what others say about those shows simultaneously? Are you contemplating how you’re going to answer that challenging client email from earlier today? Why can’t we just turn it all off and focus on one task? Enter mindfulness.

By being more cognizant of the many decisions you make in an average day, you can take time to actively participate in the decision-making process. Pay attention to what you are paying attention to, which will lead to a heightened emotional intelligence.

So how do we accomplish this in the workplace? Here are a few tips we’ve found through our own practice and through research:

  1. Breathe. Sure, this seems obvious enough. But do you recall a time when you were frustrated on a client call or in a meeting and your breathing quickened? By losing control of our breathing rhythm, we become more anxious. Take a few seconds to slow the pace by breathing in for five seconds and out for five seconds repeatedly until you feel as if you have control.
  2. Write it down. Reflection can be just as helpful during a challenge as it is following one. Write down how you’re feeling when a situation arises versus having a knee-jerk reaction. Once you’ve written down your thoughts, reflect on them immediately. If you still feel angered or frustrated, wait an hour to address. Reflect again. Is it still important? Will you still be facing the issue from an emotional place? Reflect once again until you can hone in on the root cause.
  3. Find gratitude. Start your day by writing down three things you’re grateful for, big and small. Make each day a challenge by never repeating the same item twice. For instance, today we’re grateful for fresh coffee brewing, for [insert something that happens in the office often that you’re grateful for…it could be one of your employee’s laughs or something nice that your clients have done recently].

Need more tips? Here are 14 to encourage mindfulness in your workplace by Forbes.

We’re fortunate to work with clients that open our minds and broaden our perspectives, and we pledge to be more mindful in our work and in our everyday lives.