Desk mindfulness

April 13th, 2018

Written by Katy Winship

Feeling a bit burnt out? Go from frazzled to unflappable by finding some inner peace with mindfulness.

Is your brain constantly on the go? Do your thoughts run away with you? Do you struggle to sleep? Is the answer to these questions “yes”? Then you need mindfulness! (if it’s “no” then please read on- for a friend..!)

If the way your brain works is anything like mine it will often resemble the below image of these many open browser tabs; I’m talking about simultaneous thoughts and feelings that seem to be endless.

It’s constantly over-thinking, juggling ideas and tasks and basically whirring away to the point where I don’t sleep at night. I lay there fretting about irrelevant things and replay memories in my brain, things like re-enacting that cringe thing I said or did that one time 15 years ago once to the point that it makes my own skin crawl!

If your brain is like that then you’ll relate, if you can’t then lucky you! If your brain constantly runs away with itself (or you know someone’s that does) then it might be an idea to take action as we all need to try and slow down otherwise we’re at risk of burnout.

The good news is that it’s really easy to be mindful- and it’s proven to help treat depression. Also it’s now being used as a cognitive behavioural therapy, so it’s not just a buzzword. And no you don’t have to do this...

Mindful awareness exercise- hands

Take a few minutes to yourself during your work day to put yourself in the present. This could be at your desk or even on the toilet, really it doesn’t matter. Just take a breather and do it, it’s easy.

Don’t have the time? That’s simply not true- we have plenty of time to check social media or to watch TV, find the time and use it wisely; you can always find a few minutes to go through these 4 easy steps..

1. Pick something up and place it in your hand (here I am with an ACS branded yoyo, which is ironically appropriate because when this is needed I’m usually feeling wound up, highly strung and my brain is going up and down and round and round!)

2. Concentrate on whatever it is in your hand, feel its texture on your palm- squeeze it so it almost hurts to grab and simply concentrate on that feeling. Maybe move it around in your hand, stare at it or maybe close your eyes whilst you’re doing it- just put 100% of your concentration on whatever it is you are holding.

3. Don’t let your mind wander. As soon as you notice your mind wandering start again. Just concentrate for as long as you can on your hands, completely zone everything else out.

4. There is no stage 4- it’s that simple, it’s all about just bringing yourself back to the moment and noticing the world around you instead of being caught up in your own thoughts.

This exercise requires full concentration for as long as you can afford, but the great thing about mindfulness is that it can be practised when you’re doing something else. Perhaps you are queuing or soaking in the bath, sitting on a train or eating. Best not when you’re driving though. You couldn’t concentrate fully on how the steering wheel feels in your hands without causing a car crash. Really that’s what doing these types of exercises regularly should achieve- avoiding a sort of mental car crash in your brain, because when your brain is going too fast for what you’re built for a crash is a likely risk.