Applying Mindfulness to Make Decisions Under Pressure and Reframe Your Experience of Work

Applying Mindfulness to Make Decisions Under Pressure and Reframe Your Experience of Work - image of stacked stones

In preparation for May is Mental Health month, Sonya Schryer Norris and Sarah Burchart, who met via the Michigan Library Association Mentorship program, decided to participate in a four-part Mindful Morning Coffee Hour Series through Michigan State University Extension. This is what they’d like to share.

Decision Making During the Fever Pitch of Emotions

Emotional responses are a fact of life, of everyone’s lives. The mindfulness instructor through MSU Extension invited us to watch a video of waves crashing on the beach, and to imagine that each crest was a fever pitch of emotion. Those crests reached shore, and dissipated. And behind them, was another. Which dissipated. And behind that, yet another. It was a good exercise to reflect that every emotional response I’ve ever experienced has passed, as will every experience in my future. 

How do I still make good decisions when the fever pitch is happening? I decided to explore a CALL Academy webinar brought to us by Carlos Laguna. Using his experiences in combat, in training over 5,000 Marines and his own journey with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), he now teaches others how to manage stress and overwhelm and how to build unstoppable teams. He recommended:

  • Breathing – to physically relax my body.
  • Grounding – to bring my awareness to the present moment.
  • Planning – so that I’m ready for obstacles, including failure. He pointed out that plans are often more effective when they include being prepared to help others.
  • Positive attitude – especially creative thinking, which can give me more energy. 

It was helpful to me to hear techniques for functioning well under pressure from two sources, each with their own emphasis and examples.

Learning referral: 4 Ways to Maintain Calm and Make Decisions Under Pressure

Using Mindfulness to Reframe Your Experience of Work

In a work environment where you’re already expected to balance a range of duties, adapt them as necessary for a pandemic environment, and then also look for opportunities for professional development and networking for career advancement, it is easy to be wary of mindfulness as just one more to-do when you already feel overcommitted. However, taking an hour or even a few minutes to acknowledge the feelings and experiences you’re processing can be a valuable opportunity to reevaluate the priorities that act as your life’s “anchors.” From there, you can reframe your workflow around those priorities and draw energy from them as you go about your day.

The reality is that we can’t control time marching on or even the job duties we’re assigned at times. However, I find I can make the work day experience less draining by connecting the priorities I draw energy from to even challenging or uncomfortable tasks. For example, when I recognize one of my life’s priorities is creating and enjoying interpersonal relationships with the people I’m around every day, it is much easier to move past the fatigue of “sitting through yet another Zoom meeting” and reframe the task as an opportunity to fulfill that emotional priority.

Learning referral: Time Management vs. Energy Management Your Secret to Success!

What We Learned

The Mindful Morning Coffee Hours gave us the space to apply mindfulness to our approach on the job. And we found that space to practice and apply self-care techniques to work is just as important to promoting a quality professional life for ourselves as our efforts to figure out how to evaluate virtual programming.

Feeling Inspired to Explore? Check out more at: The Wellness and Interpersonal Skills category in CALL Academy