As part of #WinterWellness, we’ve been promoting good mental health. Research shows that as stress increases, productivity goes down and creativity halts. A hectic lifestyle and work environment can lead to constant worry and anticipation of what is to come. However, the concept of mindfulness allows one to be present and lets the worries of the past and future fade away. We invited Hope Bastine, a psychologist that specialises in mindfulness and yoga, to our offices. She took us through half an hour of mindfulness exercises in an attempt to clear our crowded work minds. Sitting down with notebooks and phones in hand, we were told to clear the table and put away our phones. With calendars and to do lists at the forefront of our minds, it is rare that we are without them.
The first exercise was a mindful eating. Eating in front of our computers has become a norm for many of us and Hope discussed the negative repercussions of this. Not paying attention to the food we eat can result in an unsatisfactory meal and lead to overeating or unhealthy eating. We all chose a small snack and were then encouraged to take our time to experience the food. From the smell to the texture, tapping into all our senses is not something we usually do before eating something. This allowed us to fully concentrate on the item and when we finally bit into it, it seemed a much more fulfilling experience. Hope explained that the purpose of this exercise was to veer away from the idea that eating is a chore and concentrate on the pleasure and satisfaction that eating should bring us.
The next exercise was a slow mindful physical moment. We took our shoes off to fully engage in the exercise. Hope took us through some stretches, encouraging us to constantly be aware of each muscle in our body as we stretched and emphasised the importance of breathing along with the movement.
Focusing our attention on the present allows us to be fully aware, making the moment far more enriching that if our minds were clouded by other thoughts. It also allows us to be fully in control of the present without letting ourselves go into overdrive which can be damaging to our creative minds. Mindfulness can open our minds to make new decisions and make choices that may seem far clearer when we are not detached from the present.