Practicing mindfulness at work does not require permission from your boss, a dark quiet room, or even a day-long workshop that sends you back to your team with power tools to fix your workplace. Try this simple technique and watch your job get more enjoyable:
Let people be who they are.
According to the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction protocols as created by Jon Kabat-Zinn, there are several internal attitudinal foundations of a mindfulness practice to establish if we want our efforts to have the deepest neurological and physiological impact. This requires precise intention at the intersection of our mindless patterns, emotional reactions and the thinking mind that seems to endlessly generate thoughts. Let’s be honest and self aware for a minute about “non-judgment.”
It might not always be our own fault that we make (unfair/unfounded/unkind) judgments. When the human brain becomes overwhelmed by experience it is an adaptive response for the prefrontal cortex to stop accepting new information. It is nature’s way of saying, “Hey you, you’ve had enough. No new information until we process and pass on residual data.” Without the engagement of the prefrontal cortex the cognitive byproduct becomes quick judgments, a “no first” attitude and even blatant, mindless discrimination.
Neurological research conducted with fMRI technology at the Justice Resource Institute indicates that if the brain is not cleaned out in a 0-90 day window of the peak of stress, these “byproducts” become mindless and often diagnosable mental patterns and personality traits. The good news is contemplative practices like mindfulness, meditation and yoga are our best and most accessible means of clearing the sense-perception interface that is the prefrontal cortex. Therefore, we might as well pick up our practices and practice on each other, as stress is a part of the human condition.
Practicing letting people be who they are by cultivating an attitude of extreme non-judgment. He didn’t respond to your email for two days AGAIN? Maybe every time that happens there is actually a really reasonable reason that is none of your business. She left the microwave a mess AGAIN? Maybe she needs her eyes checked so you can set yourself free by smiling that you’re not her housemate? The boss raised his voice at your team AGAIN? Sounds like someone might not have been hugged enough as a child! Have fun with it.
There are so many ways to perceive our surroundings, and at the end of the day your primary job duty is not very likely to be assessing someone’s behavior as character. Therefore it is simply skillful to practice non-judgment and let people be who they are. Not to mention kind and professional and adult and self-liberating.
Staying committed to a regular mindfulness practice develops our internal reserves of physiological and neurological stress-heartiness, while helping us tap into mental toughness and resiliency. Over time we might find that an annoying habit of a co-worker in the past can unexpectedly make us chuckle internally in the present, and maybe even deepen our connection with that co-worker in the future.
Let people be who they are.
To learn more about being more mindful at work attend our Professional Development Integrative Lifestyle Forum on September 29th @ Rhtyhm City Casino. For more information visit:
Mandala Integrative Medicine