26 Quotes for Mindfulness at Work
Practicing mindfulness at work can be a significant challenge, especially when there’s a massive amount of tasks to complete, and coworkers are less-than-friendly. But these quotes on mindfulness can help you maintain your calm and cool, even on the toughest days.
Staying mindful and present while at work requires consistent practice. Reading and repeating quotes on compassion, mindfulness, and meditation can help individuals remain focused and positive, even on the roughest days. Understanding each quote and its significance is crucial to this process.
This article will explore several quotes on mindfulness and examine each one to determine how it might help you discover peace of mind while working hard.
The founder of Buddhism goes by a few names. While many know him as Buddha, he is also called Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha was born into wealth but decided to spurn that leisurely life to explore the world around him. His observations and ruminations on the meaning of life and the nature of the soul continue to resound with millions of people today.
“The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live.”
A major aspect of mindfulness is being able to commit to living in the moment. Focusing on past events or future possibilities can prove draining and impractical. However, staying consistently within the moment reduces the anxiety associated with worrying about tomorrow or regretting yesterday’s mistakes. This quote supports the idea of being consistently present.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
It is only too easy to become frustrated with coworkers, supervisors, and employers. However, it’s vital to take a moment to recognize that anger typically affects you more than it affects the person you’re angry with. Rather than allowing yourself to hold onto grudges, slights, or abrasive comments, it’s far better to forgive those differences and move on.
“To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.”
Blaming others for your lack of success is a tempting and dangerous road to travel down. However, claiming full responsibility for your actions (good and bad) is one of the most challenging and frightening things anyone can do. In this way, conquering your ego or sense of pride is more difficult than proving that you are “better” or “more capable” than your peers. It is also far more rewarding.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
Our thoughts shape our reality. When you think negative thoughts, you’re more likely to feel depressed. On the flip side, positive thinking can help create equally positive changes in your life. There is a lot of truth in the belief that the world is only as beautiful or as frightening as you choose to believe it is. Practicing mindful thinking and gratitude can result in improved mood.
“Be where you are, otherwise you will miss your life.”
This is another reminder to be present as much as possible. Memories can be comforting, but they can also be hurtful and difficult to process. Daydreams about the future can be unproductive and stressful. Being exactly where you are and appreciating every moment of existence, for better and for worse, ensures that you can experience and enjoy more of your life.
Eckhart Tolle is a German author who was educated in England. He’s well-known for his spiritual literature and unique outlook on life and mindfulness. Tolle currently spends his time between the United States and Europe, often traveling to attend conferences and share his thoughts with curious fans.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it.”
True inner peace doesn’t cease when bad things happen. Traditionally, stressful situations are an excellent opportunity to test your ability to remain calm, present, and compassionate. This quote supports the idea that anyone can maintain a positive attitude, even in the toughest situation.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
Life is full of unexpected situations, and death often arrives when we least expect it. For these reasons, many spiritual leaders and authors promote being present in the current moment as often as possible. As mentioned above, spending too much time dwelling on the past or focusing on the future can prevent you from enjoying the current moment.
“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.”
Remaining mindful and present while at work can be impossible if you feel that you’re having a bad day. However, accepting the present moment exactly as it is is crucial. Acceptance is a significant aspect of mindfulness that can be challenging for many to grasp fully.
That’s because we’re hardwired to either fight or run away from threatening situations. Accepting the situation and deciding to move forward with calm and a sense of presence is the greatest challenge.
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”
Another hardwired feature of the human mind is the ability and inclination to think about the future. Naturally, this thinking can lead to concerns and worries. How will next month’s bills be paid? What will we eat for dinner tonight?
These simple troubles can quickly spiral and consume a significant amount of your time, serving no purpose but to leave you feeling stressed. This quote is designed to remind readers to avoid repetitive negative thinking, as it does not yield positive or beneficial results.
Joseph Goldstein is a Buddhist author and teacher. He practices meditation and educates others on the founding principles of Buddhism and mindfulness. He spent time in the Peace Corps as a young man, when he first developed a keen interest in Buddhism. Goldstein currently lives in the United States.
“Why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied? And what is the use of being unhappy about something if it cannot be remedied?”
This is another useful quote about the nature of worry. Due to its pure logic, it can become a helpful mantra during times of extreme stress or agitation. It’s normal to feel anxious or annoyed if you’re dealing with a seemingly endless stack of paperwork, but putting those feelings aside can help you focus and complete that work more quickly.
Choosing to fix an unpleasant situation is far better than dwelling on how much you dislike the situation. Similarly, feeling upset about something you cannot change is frustrating and futile. If you have the mind to redirect your feelings, you can enjoy a calmer and more productive workday.
Sharon Salzberg is an author and teacher. Her educational focus is on spirituality, meditation, and Buddhism. She is originally from New York, and she currently produces a bi-monthly podcast that discusses her thoughts and feelings on spiritual enlightenment and mindfulness.
“Mindfulness helps us get better at seeing the difference between what’s happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening, stories that get in the way of direct experience. Often such stories treat a fleeting state of mind as if it were our entire and permanent self.”
It can be incredibly challenging to separate our judgments from our experiences. If we’re having a rough day and feeling down, it’s far easier to notice things that contribute to that feeling. Alternatively, it may seem like no amount of bad news can bring us down during the height of a fantastic day.
Allowing your emotions to color your experiences is only natural, and forming judgments is just as instinctual. However, it can cause you to miss out on the meaning behind experiences, or the simple joys of life. This quote helps remind us that mindfulness requires consistent detachment from our egos and sense of judgment.
“The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention.”
Here, Salzburg strives to remind readers that it’s possible to change your perception by changing your thoughts and focus. Focusing only on the negative aspects of a situation, person or thing can make you feel miserable. But choosing to pay attention to positive or helpful aspects can make things seem brighter and happier.
“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”
This brief statement couldn’t be more true. Mindfulness at work isn’t an impossible feat, but it can be a major challenge.
That’s because mindfulness requires constant awareness and attention. Remembering to practice mindful exercises and meditation is perhaps the greatest challenge to persistent workplace mindfulness.
“We often get caught up in our own reactions and forget the vulnerability of the person in front of us.”
Active listening is one of the most crucial components of mindfulness. It’s also something that requires practice. When you’re having a conversation with someone, do you find yourself tuning out to spend time thinking about how you plan to respond? If so, you’re not alone.
Our society’s highly competitive nature has trained us to become poor listeners, resulting in unsatisfying conversations that often lack sincere depth, compassion, or meaning. Taking time to silence our intrusive thoughts and focus on the intent of someone’s conversation is critical to practicing mindfulness.
Doing so can help coworkers and supervisors feel listened-to. You may also find that your conversations are more sincere and relaxed when you practice active listening.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was a psychiatrist who spent her academic life studying death, dying, and the near-death experience. Before her death in 2004, she received nineteen honorary degrees for her work. Her bestselling book, On Death and Dying, proposed the now-famous Five Stages of Grief.
“The opinion which other people have of you is their problem, not yours.”
Self-awareness and self-judgment are often intertwined. However, it’s essential to separate your thoughts and feelings from those around you when looking inward. The opinions and judgments of family members, friends, and coworkers can change how we see ourselves and the world around us.
However, the way that others view you does not define you as a person. While it’s crucial to listen to criticism, it’s important to analyze and process it without internalizing it. For example, if someone tells you that you need a haircut, you may be tempted to begin planning your next appointment with a hairdresser.
But it may be better to take a moment to ask yourself how you feel before allowing the opinions of others to become your problem. When you’re happy with who you are and how you feel, negative comments or unwelcome suggestions lose their power.
“There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
That internal voice that criticizes every mistake you make can be helpful at times, but it’s a mostly negative influence on your life. Being overly critical of ourselves can keep us from achieving our goals, finding peace of mind, and learning from our own perceived failings.
This quote attempts to highlight the fact that in life, there are no mistakes. Though you may come to regret a decision, you’ve likely learned a lesson about yourself in the process. This lesson can allow you to grow as a person and become stronger, wiser, and more capable.
As long as you treat every moment as an opportunity to become better, you’ll never make mistakes—only more chances to grow and flourish.
In 2016, Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu of Calcutta officially became Saint Teresa within the Catholic Church. From a young age, this inspirational figure felt compelled to show compassion to those most in need. Her courage and conviction helped promote her to international recognition, and she is still remembered for her empathetic nature and unconditional kindness.
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”
Being present and in-the-moment can help reduce feelings of depression or anxiety. Choosing to experience joy and happiness from moment to moment is often a far better option than dwelling on past failures or potentially worrisome future endeavors. Mother Teresa smartly and concisely posed this point in the statement above.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk from Vietnam who has written more than a hundred books on Buddhism, spirituality, and mindfulness. He holds the title of Zen Master and continues to travel and share his ideas about compassion and peacefulness.
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”
Anxiety can have a significant impact on your ability to breathe. When someone experiences a panic attack or feels exceptionally upset, they can begin to hyperventilate. Short, rapid breathing can quickly result in oxygen deprivation throughout the body. In this state, the brain may struggle to make decisions or reach rational conclusions. Unhelpfully, this can cause an individual to experience an even greater sense of panic or fear.
When mantras and positive thinking aren’t able to keep you calm, mindful breathing could help. That’s because deep breathing exercises slow the heart rate and oxygenate the body. The result is a clearer mind, a lessening sense of panic, and the opportunity to take stock of your current situation and overcome the obstacles before you.
As Hanh says, “[You can] use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”
“I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath.”
Reverence shouldn’t be confined to holy objects or ideas, and this quote exemplifies that idea. The amount of care and attention that you would give to an elderly loved one, a precious memento from your childhood, or a small child should be the same focus you give to all things in your life.
This belief is especially prevalent in Buddhism. Monks take special care when performing simple tasks, especially cleaning tasks. This ensures that every action is undertaken meaningfully and completed with a sense of thoughtfulness. The next time you need to vacuum, sweep, or wash some dishes, try taking an extra few minutes.
Taking your time and applying all of your attention, and focusing on the task can help keep you grounded, present, and relaxed. And when you’ve completed your errand or chore, you’re bound to enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with being more productive.
Alan Wilson Watts
This English writer helped make several Eastern theologies popular in the United Kingdom and the United States. Born in 1915, Alan Wilson Watts wrote several bestselling books on the subject of spirituality. He spent most of his professional and academic career studying Buddhism, Taoism, and the mystery of human consciousness and perception.
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
Having fun and getting work done might seem like two different concepts, but they can be synonymous with a little change in perspective. One of the most beneficial aspects of practicing mindfulness at work is improved focus. A greater sense of focus allows us to discard the stress of becoming distracted, allowing us to enjoy our tasks more fully.
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”
Traumatic events can feel very real, even if they happened many years ago. Similarly, upcoming obligations can bring on feelings of anxiety, doubt, and fear. However, it’s important to remember that the past and the future are concepts. Neither can harm you in the present moment.
The past and the present only exist in the here-and-now. Your memories only matter to you while you’re thinking of them in the present, and your concerns about the future are only pressing when you decide to spend this moment to dwell on them.
This quote is fantastically empowering for anyone attempting to become more present. It can also help you escape repetitive or unhelpful ways of thinking.
Germany Kent is a journalist and author from Greenville, Mississippi. She is well-known for her articles on social media etiquette and ethics. Her 2015 publication, The Hope Handbook, explores the idea of hope and self-motivation in a modern world that focuses on individuality and self-expression via social media.
“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”
Gratefulness is another vital tenet of mindfulness, and this quote from Kent helps to explain why. Practicing daily gratefulness can help lessen feelings of inadequacy, dissatisfaction, or resentment that can build up over time.
When your mind is more focused on finding the things to feel happy about, it can begin to struggle to notice the flaws. The result is a more peaceful day-to-day experience and fewer after-work vent sessions.
Victoria Moran is an American author who primarily publishes work that focuses on spirituality and veganism. She has written a handful of bestselling books on these subjects, and she continues to spread her message of compassion and mindfulness through her written work and her podcast series.
“In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.”
Satisfaction can be found in the present, and this quote is yet another fine example of how being in-the-moment can help lessen stressful or anxious feelings. Existential crises are exceedingly common, and they can cause feelings of lost time or lost identity. You may feel trapped in your career, your relationships, and your responsibilities.
However, the only thing written in stone is death. While you are alive, you are in complete control of your actions and feelings. As long as you can stay present and focus on the current moment, you can avoid feeling rushed or imprisoned.
Enjoying personal freedom begins with recognizing its perpetual existence and denying the illusion of past and future failures. This takes a lot of patience and practice.
Henry James was a brilliant novelist, but he wasn’t a philosopher or a spiritual leader. However, his brother William was a psychologist who spent many years studying philosophy and various spiritual beliefs. This seems to have had some effect on Henry James’ work and general ideology.
“Obstacles are those frightening things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
Have you ever noticed a sense of surprise or relief after completing a task you’ve been putting off for some time? Our minds often trick us into believing that our goals are far more frightening and complicated than they actually are, leading us to procrastinate and continue the cycle of anxiety.
Staying focused and present can help keep procrastination at bay while reducing the risk of feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is an American professor of biology and medicine. He is a follower of Zen Buddhism. Kabat-Zinn is known for lectures on yoga, mindfulness, and meditation—he has even created a program to help overstressed individuals find peace and tranquility through exercises in mindfulness.
“Just watch this moment, without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear?”
Dealing with stressful workplace situations or upset coworkers can be especially challenging. It can be difficult to know how to respond or how to act to certain stimuli, leaving you feeling confused or doubtful. But taking a moment to examine the situation and your feelings and sensations may help.
Rather than letting yourself drown in anxiety and uncertainty, try temporarily removing yourself from the situation. You may find that you’re better able to process and respond to stressful workplace issues by viewing things from the outside-looking-in.
“Note that this journey is uniquely yours, no one else’s. So the path has to be your own. You cannot imitate somebody else’s journey and still be true to yourself. Are you prepared to honor your uniqueness in this way?”
We live in a world that is defined by success and the willingness to compete. This naturally leads us to compare ourselves to others, hoping to find validation in our actions by looking to see what others are doing. However, your life is unlike anyone else’s. Therefore, your experiences and personal journey is unique to you.
Be prepared to occasionally feel separate from your coworkers or employers. Your goals may differ from those around you, but that does not mean that they are impossible or unreasonable objectives. If you embrace your uniqueness, you’re bound to feel more comfortable with yourself and your needs.
Now you’re familiar with dozens of mindful quotes to help keep you centered and positive. No matter what your employers or coworkers throw at you, these quotes can help you work through it with an earnest smile on your lips and a happy feeling in your soul.
Staying present in the moment, refusing to compare yourself with others, and letting go of anger and frustration are fantastic ways to utilize these quotes and embrace sincere mindfulness, even on the most challenging days.
Richard A. Lehman, LMT, CSCS
- The Greater Good Science Center: Mindful Breathing
- History: Buddhism
- Independent: Eckhart Tolle: This man could change your life
- Mindful: A 5-Minute Gratitude Practice: Savor the Moment by Tapping into Your Senses
- Psychology Today: Mindfulness and Being Present in the Moment
- Psychology Today: Procrastination Is Really About Fear
- Psychology Today: Why Are We So Self-Critical?
- Psychology Today: Why Is It Impossible to Not Judge People?
- University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics: Health Information
- Verywell Mind: Why Panic Attacks Cause Shortness of Breath
- Wikipedia: Active listening
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