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Let Your Mind Take a Coffee Break with Mindfulness

Posted 6/30/2016 by UHBlog

Is workplace stress negatively affecting your life and health? Learn how to take control.

Enhancing Work Performance Through Mindfulness

A focused mind is a productive mind. But with the daily onslaught of emails, incessant meetings and ever-changing deadlines that you face most days, your calendar – and your brain – get crowded.

Experts believe that the best way to re-center yourself is through the practice of mindfulness, which is an integrative mind-body approach that helps you manage your attention. Evidence suggests that mindfulness actually improves workplace functioning. Think of it as a coffee break for your mind.

“What mindfulness does is allow the clutter in our minds to settle, so we have clearer thought,” says mindfulness coordinator Suzanne Cushwa Rusnak, MEd, MSSA.

When your mind is not clogged with thoughts of appointments, deadlines and worry, you're able to make better, more strategic decisions instead of simply trying to put out immediate fires. Additionally, being able to step back from a situation and reflect on it – one of the chief benefits of a regular, ongoing mindfulness practice – can result in better relationships with your co-workers and colleagues.

According to Rusnak, practicing mindfulness can also help you separate the emotion from the problem or situation and deal with them each individually – which makes things more manageable.

For instance, instead of snapping off an immediate reply to an email that annoyed you, the practice of mindfulness teaches you to “take note of how you’re feeling and pause momentarily,” says Rusnak – and then respond from a more thoughtful place, rather than out of reflex.

“We can’t always change the stress that comes our way at a workplace,” she says, “but we can learn how to manage it.”

Adopting a mindfulness practice is a good place to start. But just like with any new skill or activity, it helps to have a good instructor teaching you the basics.

“I liken it to taking tennis lessons,” Rusnak says. “You can read about tennis all you want, but unless you have a knowledgeable teacher, and spend time between lessons practicing, you’re not as likely to really learn how to play and improve.”

University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network offers mindfulness programs at multiple locations throughout the year, including at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center and Parma Health Education Center. You'll learn how to create an ongoing mindfulness practice and techniques to use in various situations. Additionally, you'll receive a journal/workbook and a CD. To learn more about UH Connor Integrative Health Network’s mindfulness programs, call 216-285-4070 or learn more online.

Suzanne Cushwa Rusnak, MEd, MSSA is the coordinator of mindfulness programming at UH Connor Integrative Health Network. You can request an appointment with Rusnak or any other UH Connor Integrative Health Network provider online.

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