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Marek Struszczyk

Co-Founder ManagerUp


Stress is a major threat to both your physical and mental health. And it is commonplace to experience excessive levels of stress in a professional environment. When it comes to stress management, the key is how you manage your stressors. An increasingly popular method for stress management is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

MBSR helps you develop the necessary skills to navigate stressful situations – both in and out of the workplace. It mentally equips you to manage yourself and your response to stress.

In this guide, I’ll show you how you can maintain your focus and be more productive at work by reducing stress. The techniques revolve around mindfulness and improving your mental health. So, without further waiting, Let’s Start!

What is mindfulness based stress reduction?

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is a mindfulness-based program that Jon Kabat-Zinn created in the 1970s. MBSR is a flexible and customizable approach to stress reduction. It is made up of both mindfulness meditation and yoga.

While the program is typically eight weeks long and includes weekly meetings, a daylong retreat, and home practice, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use some of the valuable lessons in your everyday life.

MSBR has been found to be useful in the treatment of stress management as well as depression, hypertension, and anxiety. It is also used as a part of treatment for patients with diabetes mellitus, cancer, and disorders caused by immune deficiency.

How can leaders/executives benefit from the practice?

If you’re looking for some early symptoms and signs that you might be experiencing too much stress, look out for the following: an adrenaline rush, weak coping mechanism, exertion, inability to concentrate, and a fast heartbeat.

Leaders and executives are always in a rush and deal with stressful activities every other day. They make difficult decisions and are responsible for forward planning for themselves, their company and their employees.

In order to deal with these situations, you need to ensure you can keep your stress and anxiety on a balanced level.

People face different stress types in their daily life. It can depend on your workload, responsibilities, routine, and other tasks. The problem often results when all of these situations compound to create extremely stressful situations. You might experience stress overload.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction practices

As I mentioned, MBSR is usually practiced in combination with meetings, retreats, as well as home practices. But there are some valuable practices that you can employ in the workplace to help you become more stress resilient.

These practices include:

Breathing

Instructors of MBSR sessions teach you special breathing techniques that involve breathing from your belly. With this technique, you inhale and fill your belly with air and slowly exhale. This process has been found to lower your blood pressure and heartbeat, releasing anxiety and stress. If you find yourself buckling under pressure, why not try some belly breathing?

Gratitude journaling

Gratitude journaling has been found to be useful in helping people discover their optimism. This practice involves writing down the things you are thankful for. It has been proven to help you develop a positive attitude and can help eliminate depression.

Home assignment

Most MBSR sessions also include elements that you should practice at home. These can include, listening to meditational music or performing mindfulness techniques, or they may also provide a special workbook to work on. Any of these activities can easily be practiced in a quiet place in the office, if you’re seeking to ground yourself mentally.

Meditation

A common form of meditation in MBSR is body scan meditation. In the process, you close your eyes and concentrate on your body parts. This meditation can be helpful because it helps you focus on and relax the tense parts of your body. You can almost feel the tension or stress leaving the area.

Yoga

Yoga is commonly practiced around the world to relieve stress. In fact, millions of people practice yoga to cast away their stress – and as a bonus, it helps them keep fit too. MBSR generally includes relaxing but smooth yoga movements and poses. These movements will help rid your body of anxiety and stress.

Quick tips on how to apply MBSR exercises & techniques in the office

As I discussed above, there are many mindfulness-based exercises (some are part of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) that you can practice in the office that do not require any sort of professional help or guidance.

These exercises are specifically designed to help you achieve a better mental state while also improving your overall wellbeing.

Once people embrace mindfulness techniques, they can keep themselves calm and work efficiently under pressure.

Office mindfulness practice 1: Sitting

  • Find yourself a comfortable chair and place it in a corner without distractions.
  • Then, place your legs in a relaxing position in a square manner where your knees do not touch each other and your palms are on your knees.
  • Then start the process of breathing in and out.
  • Lastly, open your eyes and realize what you just experienced in a minute of serenity. Make yourself aware of what is happening around you.

Office mindfulness practice 2: Self-compassion pause

According to Dr. Kristin Neff, a leading researcher on self-compassion, by practicing self-compassion, you can become more resilient against stress and better able to cope with its challenges. One way to cultivate self-compassion is through what Neff calls a “self-compassion pause.”

Self-compassion is a technique that promotes self-love and how you can be kind towards others as well. Most of the time, people are good at showing compassion to other people but fail to do so for themselves.

When you start to feel stressed, take a moment to think about three things you are grateful for and how you were a completely different person a year back. This practice is intended to help you stay on track and reflect on your successes to date.

Popular professional courses

While I’ve been discussing how you can utilize some of the valuable Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction lessons in the office – or at home – to get the most out of this technique, I recommend you at least consider a professional course. Here’s a list of some of the more popular MBSR courses:

  • Silent Meditation Retreats
  • 8 weeks long MBSR course designed by Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn
  • Professional MBSR course by Udemy
  • Harvard Medical Courses of MBSR

Get started with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction today

Work can be stressful. Life can be stressful. That’s why it’s important that you can realize and manage your stress levels. Excessive stress and anxiety can lead to unbearable consequences. It’s important to make your mental health a priority.

If you’re not quite ready for professional help, or you’re just looking for something to get you through those busy days, why not consider some practical Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction activities. Some of these simple takes can always help you focus your mind and manage your stress. So take a deep belly breath and start to ease your stress.

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