The ping of an email landing in your inbox. The constant social media notifications and updates. The quick chats by the water cooler. In our work days, there are so many things to distract us that it means we focus less on the things that matter. Chances are that email can wait, but you find yourself reading it straight away, and it pulls you out of the task you were just doing.
In a world where our attention spans seem to be getting shorter and shorter, improving our attention span leads to increased concentration, productivity, and ultimately, job satisfaction. No more panicking or stressing as you rush at the last minute to meet a deadline you’ve been working towards all week!
If you’re struggling to stick with the task at hand and find yourself procrastinating by doing things that aren’t urgent or important, we’ll take you through how you can improve your attention span at work with one simple change: mindful breathing.
What is mindful breathing?
Mindful breathing is where you focus your attention on your breathing. It involves taking the time to notice the rhythm of your breathing, each inhale and exhale. If you’re new to this, a guided meditation like on the Zen Buddy app can walk you through the process.
Research has revealed the link between breathing exercises, meditation and a sharp mind, with the practices strengthening our ability to focus on tacks. Another study on the effectiveness of mindfulness breathing in students taking tests found that it reduced anxiety and may even have had a positive impact on scores, boosting their performance.
So, what are the benefits of mindful breathing for your attention span?
Managing anxiety can be challenging when we’re preoccupied with thoughts of things we can’t control. Mindful breathing allows us to focus on something we can control: our breathing. Counting between your inhales and exhales can bring a sense of calm and slow down your racing thoughts. Breathing exercises can also relieve stress.
Pause your negative thoughts
Negative thinking can intrude on our everyday tasks, pulling at our ability to concentrate. With mindful breathing, you can start to quieten your negative thoughts and be more attentive in the present moment. You’ll start to notice your breathing and the gentle rhythms of each breath, rather than anything that might be worrying you.
Fight off burnout
Taking the time out of your busy day or hectic schedule to refocus and realign is one way you can reduce the chances of burnout. A mindful breathing practice builds your awareness of the importance of rest in your day: resting with purpose, rather than it being an afterthought. Even if you have to add it into your diary so you don’t neglect it, it can prevent feelings of overwhelm. For more tips on dealing with burnout and how to avoid it, read our blog.
Mindful breathing in your everyday routine
Whether it’s in the morning, during lunch or before a meeting, setting aside five minutes to practice mindful breathing can help you to refocus and increase your attention span. Able to take in more information.
However, it’s important to be kind to yourself – some days are just less productive than others. Give yourself the space to slow down, do some planning, and get prepared for coming back to your desk in the morning, re-energised and ready to try again.
Optimistic thinking for professionals
With this empowering course, you’ll access expert guidance to help you be more successful in your professional capacity. By the end of the five lessons, you might see your productivity surging, and you’ll be able to put into action what you have learned, approaching work and life with a more positive outlook.