5 Mindful Ways to Approach Challenges at Work

A steady dose of toxic energy in the workplace encourages valuable team members to update their resumes rather than their to-do lists.

INFOGRAPHIC: Mindfulness practices to take control of workplace problems. (Click to enlarge the image.)

Julie Mosow’s Harvard Business Review article, “Help Your Overwhelmed, Stressed-Out Team,” offered some useful, practical approaches to help a leader keep her team calm and focused.

But one key element was missing from the mix: the leader’s mindset. If a leader is filled with stress, conflict, anxiety, and negative emotions, it spreads like a virus. A steady dose of toxic energy from higher-ups will encourage valuable team members to update their résumés rather than their to-do lists.

Our Brain on Stress

When we’re under stress, the brain secretes hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that in the best scenario mobilize us to handle a short-term emergency, but in the worst scenario create an ongoing hazard for performance. In that case, attention narrows to focus on the cause of the stress, not the task at hand. Our memory reshuffles to promote thoughts most relevant to what’s stressing us, and we fall back on negative learned habits. The brain’s executive centers—our neural circuitry for paying attention, comprehending,…