Have you found yourself in a scenario where people around you are giving off this contagious, overwhelming stressful vibe and you are constantly “on” because either you have a high paying job or a crazy boss who makes you feel like he/she owns you.
And, and, and…
What is most annoying is when people unpredictably throws you a curve ball that tests your patience and tolerance. That shot of anger and frustration that manifests and penetrates at an uncontrollable speed. You wish you could just dump these emotions at the next convenient trashcan. Reality is, as much as you want to retaliate so badly, you have to hold yourself back because you have to keep your poise. These are “hardships” included in your pay check. Go on, swallow.
In this losing battle, how do we save our well being?
A Dose of Mindfulness at Work
Direct your attention to your breath and breathe into the sensations of the “pain.” Then, count your breaths.
Imagine yourself sitting on a park bench, and you are witnessing your emotions like strangers walking by. Don’t ignore them, but have awareness of them. Keep witnessing and do not identify with your emotions (remember they are just strangers), by going into a monologue involving judging or blaming or victimizing yourself. That will only be putting more fuel in the fire. Continue to feed your peace by focusing on your breath. Observe the changes that is happening, and be patient with yourself.
2. Focus on a pleasant (or neutral) part of your body
This is a useful suggestion I learned from Fully Present, written by Susan L. Smalley and Diana Winston.
The essence of this practice is to distract your attention from your pain point to a pleasant (or neutral) part of your body. Let’s say you are experiencing stress and have a knot in your chest. You feel heavy and just want to let out a big sigh. That’s fine, sigh. Then mindfully notice your breath and acknowledge the discomfort you are experiencing, then direct your attention to your feet (or anywhere you can resonate with as “pleasant.”). Focus on your feet. Breathe. Once you feel you have given sufficient time, mindfully transition back to your pain point and observe if there has been any changes. If you feel that you still need more time, transition back to the pleasant (or neutral) point of focus of your body as many times as you need and as long as you need, and don’t forget to keep breeeathing.
Turning to our breath sounds cliche, but there is a lot of research that shows how breathing can manipulate our nervous system, including calming the body and mind.
Our breath is always with us. It is a tool we can always take out of our toolbox.
Hopefully with the practice of mindfulness, we can gain resilience in the fast lane.