We often picture meditation as something we can only do when we are at leisure, in comfortable surroundings. But most of our stress doesn’t always come from our leisure time — it comes from work.
With over a third of our lives, on average, spent in work, it can seem like we have little time or inclination to refocus, destress and unwind at work. Making time to meditate at work seems like a lesson in futility and with an emphasis on productivity, not a good use of our time. But the benefits of meditation should be utilized wherever they are best suited.
Finding your Space
“All workplaces have quiet spots, whether it’s in the break room, the car park or even at our desks,” says Lynne Perez, a productivity blogger at Lastminutewriting and Writinity. “ The space in which you meditate will be very much dictated by your circumstance and work life. You should look for the areas of your workplace that have the least distraction. Avoid areas where there is a lot of activity, noise or spaces that are likely to demand your attention when you are in them.“
Once you’ve identified your meditation space, make it part of your routine to spend some time there, getting as comfortable as you can. You don’t have to deck it out with candles, soothing music or relaxing scents — just make it a comfortable space with some freedom to stretch, sit or even stand free from obstruction or distraction.
Starting Your Day
Starting our day in a hurry means we are likely to continue hurrying and stressing for the rest of the day. This means we are likely to start making mistakes and getting even more stress, wiping us out before we finish our shift.
Your day should start restfully, so get into your comfortable space before you boot up, check emails, or go into your morning meetings. Sit, stand or lie back in your space and check in with yourself. Stretch out your muscles in any way that seems pleasing and take deep abdominal breaths and reaffirm to yourself what you want to achieve in your work.
It’s tempting to try and always tackle stressful issues head-on as they arise. Whilst it’s a good idea to tackle emerging problems energetically, it can also mean that we forget the bigger picture. This can lead to feelings of stress and inadequacy.
Take a moment in times of stress to just take a few deep breaths. Affirm to yourself that you are fully aware of the issues presented to you and you are prepared to tackle them in a calm and methodical manner. Continue to take controlled deep breaths and allow your body to relax. Stress will have caused your muscles to tighten, so give yourself the opportunity to shake them out. As you do this, visualize all the stress of the situation floating out of you.
Meditating for Focus
“At work, we are called on to perform tasks that require a deep level of concentration and attention to detail,” says Robin Kasper, a personal coach at Draftbeyond and Researchpapersuk. “Here, it is important to use meditation to recalibrate your mind so that you can focus.”
Take yourself off to a quiet place, away from computers, emails, and phones ringing. Find a picture, blank space, or pattern to focus on that doesn’t intrude on your headspace. Let distracting thoughts pass through your mind unhindered, and let them go. Take deep breaths as you release each thought, and once you’ve cleared your mind, go back to the task at hand.
Often, one of the biggest stress factors in work is the feeling that we have little time to achieve all of our goals. Here, too, meditation can help us to approach our time-management in a different way.
Starting again with deep abdominal breaths, count out each second as it passes on your fingers. Do this for five minutes and you will have a better sense of the rhythm in which time moves, and how long each task actually takes. Affirm to yourself, as you interact on this deep level with time, that you do, in fact, have time to achieve your tasks. In doing this, you become a master of your own time, instead of the other way around.
Originally published at facilethings.com.