Mindfulness is the discipline of catching and releasing the objects of stress before they negatively impact your day.
When my day snowballs into an avalanche of urgency and ultimatums, I have a method to prevent workplace madness. I may rarely find time for a lunch hour break, but when I feel the pressure mounting, I make time for a coffee break.
It’s not the coffee that works the magic for me. What helps here is mindfulness of my situation. I acknowledge my blood pressure rising. I feel my hand clinch upon the pen. I remark to myself in exasperation “You have to be kidding!”
Then, I take a deep breath, and I stand. I slowly reach for my coffee mug, and I patiently—deliberately walk slowly to the pot of coffee. I smile. I stir the coffee regardless of the fact that I added nothing to it. I inhale the fumes, and I slowly walk back to my desk.
It’s a ritual I have for dealing with stress, and it’s changed my work life. Gone are the exclamations of “Oh no—there’s not enough time to do all this!” Now, as I’m sitting back down at my desk—still having not partaken of my beverage—I say, “Well, it looks like I do have time for this.”
The simple act of slowing down and deliberately practicing mindfulness demonstrates an awareness of your panic-crazed mind. You silently affirm to yourself that there’s actually plenty of time left in your day. If one of you—your conscious or subconscious mind isn’t worried—then why should the other mind worry?