Mindfulness at Work For Dummies
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Mindfulness can help reduce fatigue. If you’re full of energy, getting your daily tasks done is a no-brainer – you may come home from work brimming with energy, able to cook, clean, go out with your friends, socialize and generally have a good time. If you’re lacking in the energy department, everything becomes a drag.

Assess your energy levels with mindfulness

Begin by assessing your energy levels in a typical week or month. You can do this by simply making a note in your diary or journal. You’ll find several benefits of doing this:
  • You discover how your energy levels change from one day to the next.

  • You see what times of the day you have most energy available to tackle your more challenging tasks.

  • You may begin to see patterns – certain foods or certain physical activities may be boosting or draining your energy levels.

Combat energy drainers with mindfulness

Some activities are similar to energy leeches – they suck energy out of your system. By discovering and mindfully reflecting on what takes energy out of you, you can begin to reschedule your lifestyle, or reduce your intake of energy drainers. Energy drainers include:
  • Too much stress. If you allow yourself to become overly stressed out, and don’t take steps to manage the stress, you stand to burn lots of your energy. This is because the fight or flight response pushes all your energy reserves out of your digestive and immune system and into your muscles. If you keep engaging the stress reaction, your energy reserves gradually become more and more depleted.

  • Too much thinking. If you take your thoughts too seriously, you give your mind undue attention. This tends to feed the mind and encourages you to think more and more. The brain uses a massive 20 per cent of all your energy – if you give thoughts too much attention, they spiral out of control, zapping your energy.

  • Too much sugar. Although sugar may seem to uplift your energy in the short term, your energy levels soon plummet. Reduce your intake of refined sugar and watch out for low-fat foods that contain high levels of sugar to make them taste good.

  • Skipping breakfast. Lots of research shows the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast. In fact people who don’t eat breakfast not only lack energy but are also more likely to put on weight due to overeating later on in the day.

Use mindfulness to find what uplifts you

You can take control of your energy levels by making active, healthy steps to raise your liveliness. Do the following suggestions with a mindful, gentle awareness:
  • Engage in mindful physical exercise. Rather than draining your energy, regular exercise actually gives you a boost. Health organizations recommend 30 minutes of vigorous physical exercise on a daily basis, which can include a brisk walk to the shops and back. Anything that gets your heart beating, your breathing rate up and makes you a bit sweaty and out of breath is classified as a vigorous exercise.

  • Enjoy mindful, regular meals. Eating smaller portions on a regular basis, rather than having a few big meals, is healthier and helps to maintain your energy levels. Eat mindfully too, by looking at your food, tasting as you eat, eating one mouthful at a time, and not doing anything else when eating.

  • Drink plenty of water. Aim to drink six to eight glasses of water a day, and more if you’re exercising. Become more aware of your feeling of thirst, or better still, drink before the feeling arises in case you’re already dehydrated.

  • Meditate. Both informal mindfulness and a formal meditation on a daily basis help to increase your energy levels. This is because mindful awareness helps ultimately to lower the stress you experience.

Use mindful meditations to increase energy

Here’s a meditation you can practice whenever you want to focus on increasing your energy levels:
  1. Sit or lie down in a suitable posture for you in this moment.

    You may choose to sit up straight in a chair, or lie down on your bed.

  2. Adjust your intention of this meditation to simply be with whatever arises without trying to push things away or grab hold of experiences.

    Let your attitude be one of curiosity and kindness.

  3. Feel the gentle rhythmic sensations of your own breathing.

    Feel the sensations of the breath from moment to moment. Allow the breathing to happen by itself. As you breathe in, imagine you’re breathing in nourishing, fresh, energizing oxygen into your body. Get a sense of this nutritious oxygen permeating your whole body. As you breathe out, imagine toxins being released out of your system. Breathe out anything that’s troubling you, and let go of unhelpful thoughts or emotions.

  4. With each breath you take, feel more energized and uplifted.

    Essentially you’re a container of energy, interchanging with the energy all around. Get a sense of this as you continue to breathe. Feel the exchange of energy with your surroundings – both a give and take process, a cycle.

  5. Now come back to a sense of awareness of the breath: breathing itself.

    Enjoy the in-breaths and out-breaths with a spirit of acceptance, caring and empathy.

  6. As you come towards the end of this meditation, notice your transition into a normal, wakeful state.

    Continue to be mindful of this exchange of energy taking place with your surroundings as you go about your daily activities.

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