Updated: May 13
The year 2021 was dubbed the "Great Resignation" as 38 million people left their jobs. Almost half quit because they were simply burned out. According to research from the Mayo Clinic, burnout results from unclear expectations, lack of control or social support, dysfunctional workplace dynamics, and work-life imbalance.
But what if you don't have the luxury of calling it quits? Maybe you need your job to pay your bills. That's where mindfulness can help. Mindfulness in the workplace can lead to better job satisfaction…or give you the insight you need to find a new job.
Mindfulness is being truly present without judgment.
During a typical day, the average person has over 6,000 thoughts. Humans are also victims of monkey mind – that little voice inside our heads spouting pros and cons and hypotheticals all day long. Couple that with tight deadlines and unreasonable expectations and it's no wonder we're bound tight and spread thin.
Using mindfulness techniques, you can quiet the voice inside your head and become present with what you're doing. Cultivate a list of reasons why you like your job and how you make a difference with your skillset. Take a few minutes to close your eyes and find your breath. Focus on the inhale and exhale. Using simple mindful breathing allows you to press reset as often as you need to during your day.
Practicing mindfulness can help you reconnect with your role in a different, healthier way.
When you're in the weeds, it's hard to see where you're going. What you think you need to do controls what you do. Being mindful helps you make better decisions. The Wharton School found that just 15-minutes of focused breathing helped people make better decisions. Being present helps you evaluate the information you need to make better choices – for you and your work.
When choices present themselves, step back. Focus on the present moment and evaluate the choices with a clear mind. Connect with the problem and the best choice(s) to overcome the obstacles immediately in front of you. Connecting with your job from a healthier place allows you to see the big picture and how what you do matters.
Mindfulness promotes creative thinking.
Coming up with unique and creative ideas in the workplace are the springboard for overcoming obstacles. Employees can accomplish more and are more efficient when they employ creativity. One study found that meditation promotes creative thinking. It gives your brain a break to let big ideas rise to the surface.
Before you begin your workday, give yourself five minutes to unplug from cell phones, email, computers. Think about your day and imagine it going really well. Imagine everything is working as it should be. Feel that in your body. Think about the how and the why it is going so well. As ideas permeate, sit with each one. Allow yourself to fill with new ideas. Take those with you into your day to approach your work in a different way.
Before burnout there is a moment when nothing is connecting. You've forgotten your why. When you disconnect from your purpose you become disengaged. Practicing being mindful will help you re-engage with your work and reacquaint you with your purpose. It opens your mind up for new ideas.
As for calling it quits…connecting with the job you do may show you that you've changed or outgrown your current role. That's OK. Coming to that decision because you evaluated where you are in the present and without judgment will prevent you from making a rash decision that may not suit you in the long run, and it may even help you to focus your resources and make a well-executed leap to work that better serves your growth and happiness.
Jessica Crow helps people harness the power of meditation and mindfulness to change their lives and the lives of others for the better through practical courses and personalized mentorship.
Find out more about the new 100- Hour CNTRD Meditation Teacher Training and its new 12 week to 12 month, study-at-your-own-pace format, and check out her book 'The Power of Guided Meditation', published by Fairwinds Press.