We’ve all been there. Work is super stressful, deadlines are looming, and you can’t seem to catch a break. Fortunately, learning how to meditate while working can ease the frustration and bring you back to a state of balance and ease.
Many of us picture meditation as a solo event that requires a dedicated setup and the right environment. However, that simply isn’t the case. While a nice environment can help, the idea behind meditation is to live in the moment no matter where you’re at– including work. This takes practice, yes, but there are ways to ease into it. Equipped with the right knowledge, you can find a peaceful calm at work or wherever you go.
This article takes a look at meditation and its benefits, and it walks you through the process of how to meditate while working. Are you ready to get started? We promise that you’ll be feeling good in no time.
What is Meditation?
Despite its popularity, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding meditation. It isn’t about zoning out, controlling the mind, or even having earth-shattering experiences. Instead, meditation is the practice of attending to the present moment with non-judgemental awareness, aka mindfulness. To that end, it’s a type of mental exercise that involves focus, relaxation, and insight.
Meditation is scientifically proven to cultivate more and new positive ways of being. Moreover, it reduces our anxiety and stress levels while nourishing our emotional wellbeing. With regular practice, this nourishing state of mind can lead to a plethora of benefits in all areas of life.
Benefits of Meditation
So why meditate? Well, there are hundreds of studies showing that meditation can positively impact physical and mental health in a variety of ways. Whether it’s by increasing focus, improving memory, or reducing stress, research shows that mindfulness works.
In fact, the benefits of mindful meditation include:
- Stress reduction. There are many who meditate to reduce stress and curb anxiety. The process of returning your attention to the moment over and over literally rewires neural pathways for a greater sense of overall well-being.
- Better memory. Research has shown that meditation improves one’s ability to store, consolidate, and access memories.
- Increased energy. If you want to fill your life with energy and happiness, meditation may be the answer. How so? Mindfulness meditation increases psychological functioning for higher energy levels.
- More creativity. Meditation sparks creativity and can help you come up with innovative solutions to difficult problems.
- Enhanced focus. Most of us could benefit from enhanced focus in our personal and work lives. Fortunately, studies show that meditation increases cognition and improves one’s ability to perform tasks.
How to Meditate While Working
The thing that makes meditation so special is that it only requires your attention.
Having a stressful day? Take a few minutes to focus on your breath, then return to the moment when you’re ready. If you can’t pause to take a break, meditation can help in that instance too. Simply take a few deep breaths and re-engage your work with a gentle attention when you’re ready.
Naturally, it’s important to know how to meditate if you want to reap the benefits of meditation at work. So, here are several ways to practice mindfulness meditation while working:
1. Focus on the sensations and sounds around you.
Sit upright in your chair with your hands on your lap and your feet on the floor. Deepen your breathing and gently place your attention on the rising and falling of your belly. Take a minute or two and return your attention every time your mind wanders. Then, from your head to toe, scan through your body, stopping to acknowledge areas of relaxation and tension. No need to rush, take your time.
When you’re ready, focus your attention outwards to the sounds around you and scan everything that strikes your eardrum. Take a few minutes to really witness the environment and immerse yourself in the moment. After a few minutes of this, slowly return your attention to the breath then open your eyes, totally refreshed.
This technique is great for feeling grounded and relaxed.
2. For a quicker refresher, use a popular meditation app.
There are a ton of great meditation apps you can try. Our personal favorites include Headspace and Insight Timer. Insight Timer has numerous guided and self-paced meditations that you can try, and it’s totally free to use! Headspace, on the other hand, is great for beginners seeking quick ‘n easy sessions.
3. Take a few breaths before jumping into your activities list.
Give yourself a couple of minutes to count your breaths. Take five strong, audible breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Close your eyes on the first inhalation and open them on the final exhale. When you’re done, take a moment to tune into your body before calmly shifting your attention to the tasks at hand.
4. Try walking meditation.
Step outside of your office and find a safe place to close your eyes. Standing still, bring your awareness to your feet, ankles, hamstrings, calves, knees, quads and hips. Take as much time as feels good and simply acknowledge the areas as you move up through your body.
Now, open your eyes and begin walking slowly. Pay attention to which parts of your body are working to make each simple step, and try to become lost in the sensation. Continue this way until you’re feeling calm and relaxed.
With this simple technique, you’re able to release unnecessary tension and gently stretch your muscles.
5. Visualize a happy place.
Stop your tasks for a moment and use your imagination to visualize a place that fills you with joy. This place can be real or imagined, it’s up to you. Slow your breathing and explore the area in your mind, keeping your imagination open to possibility. Stay here for as long as you like, and return to your workplace when you’re ready.
Meditation can do wonders for your health and happiness– particularly in the work environment. There are all kinds of techniques you can try, and it’s simply a matter of finding what works best for you. Whatever your preferred method, try to make the practice a habit and you’re sure to notice a difference in no time.