Studies show that overwork leads to increased stress and addictive behaviors. The cost to our soul has not been calculated, but we sense that the demands of our industrial and information economy are taking their toll.
If you dreaded returning to the daily grind after the holiday break, or if you’d just like a little help reducing stress in the workplace, here are some wise, wonderful, and very simple tips for working differently and with more joy.
1. Take your positive values to work. Often the values we associate with conscious living–behaving in a kind, loving, and patient manner–are left behind when we leave the house for work in the morning. While you’re still at home, call your voice mailbox at work and leave a message that will help you start off on the right foot when you listen to it at your desk. Perhaps you’ll want to remind yourself of a different value to focus on each day, such as cooperation, humility, or gratitude.
2. Keep inspiration close at hand. Keep a copy of an inspirational article or a book of inspirational quotes near your computer. Reach for it while you wait for files to download or programs to boot up.
3. Work soft. We’re encouraged to work hard but too much effort can be counterproductive. We may work too hard at the expense of our ability to think clearly, to be in touch with our intuition, or to operate in a relaxed and efficient manner. Each time the phone or fax machine rings, use it as a reminder to relax your shoulders and breathe deeply. Soften your focus as you sink back into your body.
4. Clear work clutter. Apply some principles of feng shui to your workstation. Take a good look at the items that are in your field of vision. Clear the clutter from your bulletin boards and desktop. Take down old pictures, cartoons, or anything else that no longer supports your sense of prosperity and well-being.
5. Bring home to work. Work doesn’t necessarily end when you leave the office. More and more people now bring work home. Why not also bring your home (your mindful state) to work? Anytime you find yourself waiting for a meeting, a printout, or a fax, drop into the present moment. Sit in your chair and become conscious of your breathing. Feel your feet touching the floor, your thighs resting on the seat. Make sure your back is supported and your shoulders are relaxed. Submerge as deeply into this moment as you can. don’t plan or think. Just be.