WORK-LIFE BALANCE / NOV. 14, 2014
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Could Mindfulness Stop You Feeling Stressed at Work?

Google recently hit the headlines with the release of the book ’Search Inside Yourself’, which was written by Google engineer Chade-Meng Tan, and details the steps used in the internal Google programme of the same name. The programme aims to promote wellbeing and increase emotional intelligence, through the use of mindfulness skills, which have long been held up as a way of helping people, overwrought with the pace of everyday modern life, to calm themselves.

The skills can have a meditative quality, and are also described as ’living in the moment’, taking the time to notice small and simple pleasures as we go through life. It is not surprising, therefore, that mindfulness is big news.

And the good thing is, that if you are not lucky enough to be a Google employee (and have not yet purchased the ’Search Inside Yourself’ book), there is a new app to help you practise mindfulness any time you wish to - even in work.

Google search for happiness

In the Google programme, the three basic steps followed are: calm your mind, log moments of joy, and wish others happiness. The first step suggests using mindfulness and meditation techniques to take short breaks through the day, calming the mind and allowing your thoughts time to rebalance. There is evidence to suggest that this step alone can help to manage stress and anxiety.

The logic behind the second step, logging moments of joy, is to encourage people to notice the small and simple pleasures of daily life, rather than going through the day on autopilot as we are so inclined to do.

The final step of wishing others happiness, aims to add compassion into our lives, and works on the basis that we derive pleasure from giving as well as receiving - a principle that would certainly bring a little joy to the workplace.

Mindfulness for muggles

If you’re not one of the Google crowd, don’t fear - there is an answer for us mere mortals, too. Try the app Stop Breathe Think, recently released by not for profit organisation Tools For Peace, which allows users to practise the mindfulness techniques of - alternatively - active thinking and resting the mind. The app offers a series of guided meditation programmes between five and ten minutes long - perfect for sneaking into a tea break at work if you need it - and tracks your progress to keep you motivated.

The original Stop Breathe Think app was released for iOS earlier in the year and has proved popular. Tools For Peace is now on a mission to get the app used by as many people as possible. The app is free, although there are additional content packages available to purchase - as the organisation works towards changing the world for the better through the effective merging of time tested ideas and shiny new technology.

With anxiety at work an increasing issue for many of us, finding ways to ’live in the moment’ is an appealing thought. Giving meditation diary time alongside regular work appointments might be difficult, but at least with the ability to access meditation tools on your smartphone, you can make better use of a snatched few minutes before a meeting, the daily commute, or even the inevitable ’leaves on the line’ delays of autumn. 


Image: joganogoogle

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