Work Mindfulness: The Five Minute Meditation
By: Melanie Shires, PCC
You don’t need endless free time to find your center. This streamlined routine gets the job done while you are sitting at your desk at work.
I know, I know. You’re too wound up to meditate, especially at work. You don’t have time. You’ve got a billion things on your mind. It’s not your thing. Wait, hold on a minute! Before you roll your eyes and get back to doing 20 things at once, consider this…
Research suggests that meditating can actually form new and permanent neural connections in the brain and reduce anxiety and stress levels by up to 22%. I encourage my clients to meditate while they are working or at work because many have experienced the awful lingering of anxiety, contempt and unease after a bad performance review, difficult confrontation with a co-worker or unsuccessful sales presentation. I highlight the benefits of the practice and how to apply it at work to ease stress and anxiety – meditation trains your mind to focus on the moment instead of worrying about what occurred in the past or what could happen in the future. The amazing thing? All that is needed is five minutes. Anyone can do it and the more consistent you are, the easier it will become. So take a timer, a notepad and a pen to a quiet room with soft (but not dim) lighting – close your office door or go to a quiet room. Sit up straight in a comfortable chair, remove your shoes and socks and get started.
Minute 1: Breathe Deeply
Rest your hands on top of your thighs with your legs hip distance apart and your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes, or leave them open, allowing your gaze to rest, unfocused, a few feet in front of you. There are different benefits for either closing your eyes or keeping them open. Closing your eyes helps you focus on the inner workings of your body, while leaving them open strengthens your ability to stay serene amid external distractions. Observe how your feet are on the floor; they may seem tingly, or you may sense the hardness of the floor under your toes. Now deepen your breathing (either through the nose, the mouth or both, whichever comes naturally), inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of six.
Minute 2: Find Your Natural Rhythm
Stop counting and allow your breathing to fall into an easy rhythm. Pay attention to what your breaths feel like, not overly deep or shallow, and compare that to your usual cadence. Tune in to the rising and falling movement in your body. You should experience it from your belly to your shoulders.
Minute 3: Stay Focused
Continue to be aware of your breathing. If random thoughts begin to pop into your head (work deadlines), don’t push them out or linger on them. Instead, imagine each one as a floating cloud. This visualization technique helps you acknowledge your worries without responding to them emotionally. If a thought still doesn’t drift away from your mind, jot it down on the notepad. Then turn back to your meditation.
Minute 4: Relax
Release your focus on your breathing and simply sit. Remind yourself there is nothing to do or change.
Minute 5: Give Thanks
Think of something you are grateful for. Gradually transition your thoughts to how you physically feel: the relaxed state of your muscles and the steadiness of your heartbeat. Open your eyes (if you had them closed), stand up and tackle the rest of your work day – calm, cool and collected.
Integrating mindfulness in your workday is extremely important to achieve occupational wellness and overall well-being. I am passionate about and committed to helping entrepreneurs live their best life through the integration of states of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, The Eight Dimensions of Wellness. Follow me @bizcoachmel to get empowered with inspiration, tools, resources, tips, encouragement and support in every step of your wellness journey.