Even if your job is the most wonderful and inspirational you could ask for, there are still days where you will have a lot going on and become stressed or overwhelmed. It is amazing what taking a moment for yourself, to be silent and to re-focus, can do for your general resilience and wellbeing at work. A mini meditation a day keeps the stress at bay!
Our lives are busy, and even if you are not particularly troubled by the noise and complexity of your work life, you may still struggle to schedule regular meditations into your week. Instead of worrying about fitting those longer sessions in, try to incorporate smaller practices throughout your day, to keep you in a sustained state of calm and mindfulness. We have a few suggestions for meditations you can use any time of day, wherever you are.
1. Breath Counting
This is an extremely short and simple meditation; it can last under a minute and still be really effective. Perfect in a situation where you need to quieten your mind quickly or to stabilise feelings of anger or anxiety.
Focus on the breath. Try to breathe as naturally and as steadily as you can. Now, count your breaths internally, like so: 1, inhale, 1, exhale, 2, inhale, 2 exhale, and so on. Do this until you reach 10. Repeat as many times as it takes to bring you back to centre, back into a state of calm and focus.
2. 4×4 Breathing
This is similar to the practice above. If you are finding it tricky to control the breath, then this meditation should help you to regulate with a little more ease.
Breath in for 4 seconds. Then hold for 4, breathe out for 4, and hold for 4 once again. Loop this exercise until present.
3. Body Scan Meditation
This focuses the mind by awakening an awareness of your body’s current status. This is particularly good if you are feeling tense. You should be able to move on into the rest of your day feeling grounded, open and confident.
Bring your attention to different body parts in turn. Check in. How are they feeling? Are you holding tension in these areas? Start at your head, then move down the body; eyes, jaw, neck, shoulders, back, chest, arms, stomach, hips, legs, knees and feet. As you attend to each of these, consciously relax that part in isolation. Once you are done with this you will have identified your areas of tension be a little more comfortable.
4. Single Focus Activity
This one is easy to integrate. If you have an overwhelming pile of work to do, take a moment to pick one simple task. Discard the rest for a moment and focus only on that task. Tactile activities are the best, from photocopying to building a wall; if it uses your hands it will work especially well.
Attend to the task completely, being mindful about the process of it. Place deliberate intent on what you are doing in the moment. When you return to your work pile, it will seem less overwhelming. Also, you will have one task you can tick off the list!
5. Surrounding Curiosities
This is a meditation that focuses on a mindful appreciation of your surroundings. A conscious day-dream, if you will. Need a break from staring at the computer screen? Need a little visual stimulation? Try this…
Look around and find five things that you find interesting. It can be something you hear, something you see, something you smell or even something you taste. This will break up any task that appears routine or relentless; lighting up the creative parts of your brain, encouraging a lighter and more optimistic mood.
We often don’t take the moments we need during the day because we have not taken time to recognise what our stress triggers are. Stress symptoms are different for different people; some of us tap or fidget, some clench fists, some people experience a racing heart. If you tend to get stressed, learn to be mindful of how it manifests itself. If you learn this and learn when to enact one of the above meditations, your general levels of tension may drop significantly.
By Chris Thomson
Mobile, mini meditations work wonders for your professional resilience. You might also find that yoga on the move is pretty helpful as well: 7 Yoga Poses for Anytime, Anywhere
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