We’ve all experienced a scenario like this one: As soon as the alarm goes off, a sense of anguish starts to pull us out of bed to start the day. We get to the shower making a ‘to do list’ ranging from taking out the garbage to close a business deal. Without having dressed yet, we already had hundreds of conversations in our heads with known and unknown people who unknowingly are already late to deliver what we needed for yesterday.
As soon as we get to the office the phone rings, WhatsApp appears to remind you that you have 86 unread conversations, your email starts downloading 1, 2, 25 emails that were accumulated during the night, and your boss is waiting for you in the meeting room to review a topic that you currently have no idea about, while that project was discarded months ago.
The day passes in an exhibition of multitasking, in which you answer a call, write an email and chew a bite of the left-over sandwich you left from yesterday’s breakfast. You end the day exhausted, just to get home with the feeling of having achieved nothing. The errands you “ran” in the shower are postponed yet again in a sea of frustration … and the reproaches come back to torture you during the insomnia of a new dawn …
I know that if you’re reading this, it’s because you have had days, months or even years like that, due to the fact that your current life- rhythm demands immediate and inclement responses. There’s no time to think about what to do, and of course, there’s no time to question if that’s truly the life you want to live. In the end, it seems that the 21st Century rewards with the sadistic illusion of success to those who sleep less and work more.
This phenomenon is increasingly common and is reflected in the increase in burn out, absenteeism in work and in extreme cases, suicide. So much so that the WHO has identified depression as one of the leading causes of work disability and millionaire losses in this century. In response, some governments and companies have implemented mindfulness in the workplace.
Being mindful is being present in the ‘here and now’. Become aware of your thoughts, emotions, and feelings in order to make better decisions with more clarity and focus. Practicing helps you focus on the tasks in front of you regardless of its complexity, one step at a time. That’s why it has become the favorite tool of high-performance leaders who must strategically practice for only a few minutes throughout their day, in order to enjoy the benefits in the professional and personal departments. It’s important to mention that like any skill, the best results are the product of over-time constant and disciplined practice.
Meditation is a way to practice this mental exercise. Through breathing, we can focus on the moment we live and thus be aware of the presence of our body and our thoughts at every moment. Contrary to what is thought, meditation’s goal is not to empty the mind, but to have the ability to return to our focus point, allowing us to get rid of distractions, and thus be able to return to our goal.
Meditating is not the only action you can take to have mental clarity. In addition, there are simple actions that you can implement on a daily basis:
– Conscious presence. This means being aware of what happens outside and inside of you at every moment. It doesn’t help to think about all the things you didn’t do/say while you had a conversation. Being mindful means being present with all your attention and your senses. If, for example, when reviewing a document you realize that your mind is beginning to wander, become aware of that distraction and patiently recover your focus.
– No to multitask: Contrary to what we think, when our mind is divided into several things at the same time, energy overflows and the lack of deepening make our actions extremely inefficient. Give yourself time to focus on one thing at a time and you’ll see that you can get better results and greater satisfaction while doing it.
– Pause to continue. A common mistake is to neglect sleeping in to cover more working hours. This may happen when you have a deadline or an exam, but it can easily become a habit, which will surely charge the bill. Sleeping is vital for the brain in order to ‘clean’ itself and performs properly, for this reason reducing sleeping hours is terrible, not only for productivity but also for health. Make sure you manage and respect your sleeping cycles.
If you’re living a similar situation in your workplace, and there are no institutional programs to reduce anxiety or stress, we recommend you to browse through the programs that Dalia Empower has prepared for you, so you become change-agent in order to improve your own life, and of course, your environment.