Whether or not your company has incorporated meditation into the workplace routine, there are several ways for you to practice mindfulness during the workday. These five meditations can be done at your desk during a quick, couple-minute break to reboot your mindset and help you release stress when you need it most.
1. Breath Meditation
Start by taking some deep breaths without worrying about how you’re breathing. Then, start to take note of how you’re breathing. Close your eyes and try to focus on nothing other than your breath. Acknowledge whether your breath is calm, erratic, shallow, deep, etc., and begin to relax into the breath. When the mind wanders and thoughts or emotions come up, take note of them, but let them be. Then, gently guide your attention back to the breath. Try not to worry about how well you’re concentrating because that kind of focus will eventually come, the more you practice. Finding a breathing technique that works for you can be immensely helpful – and used any time, anywhere.
2. Inner Smile Meditation
Both Buddhism and Taoism teach the Inner Smile Meditation. It involves closing your eyes and smiling just like how you would smile to another person. Smile lightly at your jaw while letting it relax. Direct your focus to your forehead. While it may feel a little silly, the more you practice, the more it will easily become a part of your routine.
3. Body Scan Meditation
Close your eyes. Similar to the breath meditation, you will focus on different sensations in various portions of your body. Start by focusing on the feet. Relax and take a few deep breaths, and pretend that the only things that exist are the sensations in your feet. Concentrate on this for a full minute. Just like in the breath office meditation, take note of thoughts as the mind wanders. Then, go back to focusing on the feet. Start to move your focus up your body, repeating the process for calves, knees, thighs, belly, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, jaw and forehead. In lieu of time at the office, you obviously may only have time for one or two body parts.
4. Calming Visualization
What would you describe as your safe place? Perhaps a favorite beach or rope swing from your childhood? If you don’t have one, imagine one. Relax and take a few deep breaths. Then, start to visualize this calming place. Make this the focus of your mediation, and acknowledge any thoughts and emotions as you continue the meditation.
While stretching is not necessarily a form of meditation, simply moving your body brings you back into the present moment and helps you focus on your body. Start by taking a few deep breaths and doing a mental check of your body. If there’s a muscle that needs to be stretched, stretch it. Otherwise, begin by stretching out your arms. Take three deep breaths through the nose during your stretch, then release. Head rolls and shoulder rolls are other movements you can practice to limber up the joints, bring you into the body and help you release stress.
Working from a mindful place is just as important as eating, breathing, and moving in one. While an office environment can be stressful, use these 5 techniques to calm your body and mind and regain some mindfulness before your next task or meeting.
Do you have other ways you relax at your desk? Share with us!