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New Year, New Goals

Life in admissions moves fast from September–November, then we take time to focus on family and friends (and hopefully a little less on work) in December, and January brings another new year and another opportunity to work on those “resolutions.” The truth is, that despite our best intentions, sometimes we forget, or run out of time, to focus on self-improvement. Practicing mindfulness is an easy way to focus on ourselves during those hectic times.  

Despite common belief, mindfulness does not take hours of meditation; it just takes setting aside a little time and energy each day.

Tips for practicing mindfulness at work:

1)      Make your first task of the day something other than checking email:  Completing a small, quickly accomplished task releases dopamine, a pleasure hormone in our brains. This release can make us addicted to emails and completing other lower-priority, quick tasks, like emails. Try to apply mindfulness when opening your Inbox. Focus on what is important and maintain awareness of what is merely noise.  

2)      Stay focused in meetings:  Rather than looking at your phone, or thinking about what else you need to accomplish that day, take the couple of minutes on your walk to your meeting to practice mindfulness. You can achieve this by taking deep breaths and placing your full attention on your breathing:  inhale, exhale, and inhale. Allow yourself to enjoy this experience.

 3)      Take breaks:  But don’t tell your boss. As the day goes on, our brains naturally tire. You can recharge your brain by taking breaks, especially in the afternoon. Try setting an alarm on your phone to go off once every hour. Take a minute break and practice mindfulness by standing up, taking a walk, or closing your eyes and doing deep breathing.

 4)      Finish the day strong:  When the day comes to an end, and you begin the commute to home or your next destination, apply mindfulness. Take 10 minutes and turn off the radio, put your phone away (which is good practice every time you drive,) and simply exist. Let go of any thoughts that arise and listen to your breath. Be present in the moment.

Mindfulness is about stripping away distractions in life and staying on track as an individual and in an organization.

Interested in learning more? Here is a reading list of books about mindfulness and positive psychology practices:

·         The Untethered Soul – The Journey Beyond Yourself” – Michael A. Singer

·         “Mindfulness:  An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World” –Mark Williams, Danny Penman, and Jon Kabat-Zinn

·         The Happiness Track:  How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success” – Emma Seppala

·         The Little Things” – Andy Andrews


Jacqueline Carter/ Rasmus Hougaard. “How to Practice Mindfulness Throughout Your Work Day.” Harvard Business Review, 27 Sept. 2017, 

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