When we experience dissatisfaction within our lives, there often starts a process of looking for ways to do something different and explore change. Practicing gratitude can make a positive shift in our experience of life. Being more mindful, bringing our attention and noticing what it is that we do appreciate, and using a gratitude journal to reflect and write about the good that is already present, allows us to see with new eyes what we often take for granted. As we begin to see what we were previously blind to, our daily life changes. What we perceived as dull, difficult, tight or not enough can become interesting, easeful, expansive and precious. This can transform our personal life; however we rarely think of taking this approach to our work life, as personal and work tend to be held as separate and not examined holistically.
What might happen if we brought these practices to our work?
What if we were more mindful at work?
What if we brought our attention to what we appreciate about our occupation?
What if we took some time to reflect on what is good about our job activity and how that might increase?
Lets look at some ways that we might make this an exploration of our Mind at Work.
Starting the day, many of us leave our homes to travel to work. Taking a bus or train could be an opportunity to just sit and watch the in breath and out breath. You might close or lower your eyes to help you bring focus to your breath. If you drive, begin mindfully by just taking a moment to be aware of putting the key in the ignition and listening to the sound of the motor turning over. Have an intension to stay calm during the drive and arrive at work mindful and relaxed. In this way you arrive in a different state than if you begin feeling rushed and breathless. During the day, can you continue to be aware of your in breathe and out breath before a meeting, during a break, or as the phone rings? Notice if your intension to be calm and stay relaxed assists you to watch what thoughts, feelings or sensations precede being upset, tight or acting rushed. Being mindful of what we are doing when we are doing it keeps us present and on task as opposed to trying to multitask and deal with things before we actually need to.
Being mindful, we start to be able to notice activities or circumstances that have a pleasant feeling to it. Paying more attention, we can notice what it is that we like, is enjoyable, or influences us in a positive way. Looking at the components of this positive experience, we generate a feeling of appreciation for what is going well, engages us and what supports our doing good work.
Having noticed and brought our attention to what we appreciate, we can reflect on how we feel when we bring our attention and what supports are present in our work activity for this to continue. Imagine taking a moment at the end of the day to reflect and/or write what it was in particular that you took pleasure in, found beneficial, and went well. Appreciating with gratitude the presence of these, you remind yourself that there is a foundation here of blessings even if the work is meeting needs that are not long term. When we take a few moments at the end of the day, we start to notice all the many ways work supports us and can consider how to continue to work in such a way to have good outcomes.
Paying attention to our experience, bringing a focus to what we appreciate and taking a small amount of time to reflect on what supports us and how it might continue in this way, brings a new perspective to our Mind at Work.