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Learn & Practice

Workplace Wednesday: Take a Mindful Break with a Colleague

By The Healthy Minds Team

In this week’s Workplace Wednesday, practice mindful listening during coffee breaks with colleagues.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

“Mindfulness” is a key skill of Awareness, the first pillar of the Healthy Minds Framework for Well-Being, and it is the building block of much of the rest of contemplative traditions. In a broad sense, mindfulness is about directing your attention to be more present. You may be an expert at this point, carefully breathing and anchoring your thoughts in the midst of a stressful day.

But have you ever tried practicing mindfulness when with others, or more specifically, when you’re with your colleagues?

You can practice mindfulness anywhere, no matter who you are with and what you are doing. That includes your relationships and interactions with others.

In our culture’s frantic work-pace, it can be difficult to slow down and be present with your colleagues. The drive for productivity, and grasping every minute to get work done can be ever-present.

What if you scheduled a proactive, mindful coffee break for you and a co-worker? Schedule 15 minutes (and if you’re working remotely – you can do this over video!) to meet up with a beverage with no work agenda, other than catching up.

When you’re with this colleague, practice being fully present with them. Give them your full attention.  If you notice your attention wander to something else, no problem. The moment you notice attention has wandered is a moment of mindfulness and you can then choose to bring your attention back.

Ask questions that have nothing to do with work, and really listen. By giving your colleague this directed attention, and allowing space, both you and your workplace culture can become calmer and less frantic. Plus, colleagues are just people with personal lives and interests – and connecting on these topics can build trust and provide different perspectives.

Remember that this is a practice. We have habits, and habits don’t change overnight. The key is to have a clear interest and intention to be mindful and fully present when you’re with others.

Maybe you’ll start a trend! Schedule a mindful coffee break today.

Learn more about how the Healthy Minds Framework can support your workplace well-being with Healthy Minds @Work .

HM@Work Workplace Wednesdays