Public service has great meaning to those who strive to help others, particularly in their communities. Whether you are a police officer, fire fighter, teacher or state representative, working in the public sector creates a source of pride, knowing your contribution to society has made a difference in the lives you touch. However, along with the rewards comes the stress. These positions create high levels of stress. A way to combat the stress is with mindful thinking.

Mindful thinking (or mindfulness) has been around for centuries in far East and now has become a common practice in the West. Mindful thinking isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Simply, mindful thinking is being aware of one’s situation at that given moment — being fully present. By being aware, a person can focus on his or her feelings, which helps identify them and their cause. This enables a person to accept these feelings, which creates a calmness. And when you are calm, it is easier to think clearly and make decisions. There are many ways to focus on the feelings, such as meditation and mindful movements.

According to Mindful, mindful thinking provides many benefits in addition to lowering stress levels, such as lowering blood pressure, regulating emotions and improving memory. It also strengthens leadership through authenticity and intention. Leadership is a key quality in someone who works in public service. Thus, when a public servant uses mindful thinking, solutions are easier to find and stress levels are reduced. This is extremely beneficial to a person who is involved in traumatic situation, such as rescuing someone from a fire or protecting a civilian from a being fired upon. By taking a moment to be fully aware of what is going on around you, you can identify and compartmentalize your feelings so you can implement a plan of action. For example, many police departments in the United States have been using mindful thinking to help their officers make thoughtful decisions and better manage their emotions (before and after a stressful event).

Mindful thinking is not a passing trend; it has been extensively studied with proven results. The benefits of mindful thinking will aid public service employees to be more efficient in handling daily tasks, such as creating lesson plans or budgets. It will also help build a better connection between the public sector and civilians. Now more than ever, mindful thinking is needed to promote a stress-free environment for these employees.