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Improve your Workplace Interactions with Mindfulness

For this moment, be here.

Do nothing but read.

There are real benefits to being mindful. Research has connected mindfulness to higher sleep quality, creativity, as well as job performance. So it’s no surprise that companies like Google, Intel, Aetna, and General Mills are offering their employees mindfulness training.

In addition to individual and collective benefits, my colleagues and I have found that mindfulness has real payoffs for relationships. Individuals can actually infuse mindfulness into their workplace interactions, which leads to more positive relationships.

So, how can you use mindfulness to improve your workplace interactions? You don’t necessarily need to sign your team up for a 2-week yoga retreat. Instead, here are three informal ways that you can bring mindfulness into your everyday work interactions:

1. Be present by adjusting your posture.

Simply changing the way you sit can make a big difference. Try this: While seated at a meeting, uncross your legs and place both of your feet firmly on the ground. Then place both of your palms on your thighs. Being able to ground yourself in the room is a tool that can help you refocus on the present and away from any nagging anxieties.

2. Regulate your emotions through breath work.

One way you can regulate your emotions is by focusing on your breath. Try this: Before drafting a response to a negative email, inhale through your nose—hold—then exhale through your mouth. This pause can give you the chance to respond, rather than react, and prevent a potentially escalated interaction. View your breath as a tool for reassessing and regulating (both your own and others’) emotions.

3. Listen without distractions.

Help yourself become a better listener by limiting distractions. Try this: While speaking with a colleague, close your computer and silence your phone. Then pay attention to both what they are saying and what they are trying to communicate beyond words. People don’t always need us to problem solve for them, so focus your attention on what is being communicated, not on how you plan to respond.

Mindfulness is a powerful tool for connection. So, take a moment to infuse your interactions with presence, intentionality, and compassion. You can start by placing your feet firmly on the ground, taking a deep breathe, and silencing your cellphone.

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