It’s so easy to be swept up in the currents of our daily lives. It can often feel like there’s simply too much to do. Between family life and friends, work and home life, when do we receive the opportunity to just stop – and breathe? Usually, by the time we get in the door from work, the last thing we want to contend with is yet another task on our to-do list. Perhaps that’s why it’s difficult to feel motivated to meditation. Sure, we know about the benefits, the decreased stress, the improved physical health, and wellbeing. But really – who has time?
Listen, we feel you. We get it. It’s not easy. Not when you’ve got a hundred other things to take care of and it’s all you can do to keep your head on straight.
So, what if there was a way for you to squeeze in a little me time, a little meditation practice, right at work? You’re going to be there for the next 8 hours anyway, right? Why not make the most of your time?
And while we’re on the subject, did you know that meditation is a huge productivity booster? Not only will you be giving yourself a much-needed breather, but you’ll also be giving your brain the boost it needs to meet that project deadline.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Well, let’s see how it’s done.
The Holistic Benefits of Meditation
We know you probably know a little something about meditation, how it works, and how it can help you. But what we want to talk about specifically is how meditation can improve your work performance.
Meditation has been studied across many spectrums, and we continue to learn more about it on a regular basis. But what we’ve discovered so far is nothing short of astounding. Meditation can vastly improve an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional states after only a small commitment of short, daily meditations.
But how can meditation increase your productivity? Here’s how a daily practice can benefit you:
- Enhanced focus
- Amplified creative thinking and problem solving
- Fresh perspective
- More easily able to retain information
- Increased efficiency
- Improved attention span
So, how do you go about doing it at work? Won’t someone notice? Will it look strange if I’m perched on my desk chair in the lotus position, humming to myself?
Don’t worry. The strategies and techniques we’re about to introduce can be practiced quickly, discretely, and without much fuss. Here are three ways you can incorporate meditation into your workday.
Mindfulness Meditation for Focus
Mindfulness is incredibly easy to practice, not just at work, but wherever you are! It is simply present moment awareness. It’s being aware of the present moment. That’s it. Pretty easy, right?
Mindfulness certainly isn’t without its challenges, but it’s quite a versatile practice that can be approached from a few different avenues.
First, there’s mindful breathing. This is simply placing an awareness on the chest, the belly, or the nose, and focusing on what it feels like to breathe in the present moment. You don’t need to control your breath in any way. No forcing of deep belly breaths or chastising yourself for breathing shallowly.
Mindfulness is about being aware of what’s happening while it’s happening. Without judgment.
Since there’s usually a lot going on around us at one time, a lot of mindfulness meditations direct the focal point of attention to the breath. It’s easy to hone in on something that’s constantly present within us.
The next time you’re at work and you feel your heart rate being to rise or your blood begin to pulse in your temples, see if you can take three mindful breaths. Three breaths in which, you’re focused on nothing but what it feels like to breathe. It may be more of a challenge than you think!
Open-Monitoring Meditation for Acceptance
Open-monitoring meditation shares some similarities with mindfulness, but with a slightly different twist.
It also places a focus on present moment awareness, but instead of observing the breath or the environment, we monitor our thoughts.
This meditation is a little more involved than mindfulness, but so long as you can steal away from whatever you’re working on for a few minutes of solitude, you’ll be able to practice this one, no problem.
Open-monitoring is an observation of the mind. It’s simply noticing what thoughts arise, stay for a moment, and then drift away. We watch our thoughts twist and change and rise and fall without judgment. Just like with mindfulness meditation. We do our best not to judge what comes up for us. We simply watch. And observe. And stay present.
This form of meditation can be a greater challenge than mindfulness because to stay non-judgmental in the face of difficult and anxiety-ridden thoughts is hard. We want to react, want to push negative thoughts away and want to block them out and ignore them.
But to be able to observe as best you can, without judgment, is a vital skill to cultivate. It will help you better understand yourself. And it will help you understand the transient nature of thoughts. Once you begin to notice how easily and automatically thoughts rise up and slip away, you’ll see that they’re just thoughts. Not really, Just ideas that glide in and out of existence.
Transcendental Meditation for Clarity
Transcendental meditation, or TM for short, is a form of meditation introduced to the world by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi back in the 50s.
A well-practiced yogi from India, Maharishi took it upon himself to spread awareness of transcendental meditation throughout the West. It’s since become a popular form of meditation still practiced today. How is it done?
Transcendental meditation is traditionally practiced by repeating a mantra in a seated position, eyes closed, for about 20 minutes at a time. Now, before you throw up your hands and dismiss this one, let us explain how this could be done at work.
The aim of transcendental meditation is the focus of the conscious mind on a repeated mantra so that the subconscious mind has the opportunity to transcend into higher realms of awareness.
While the mind is busy focusing on the mantra, the rest of you is able to relax. No need to be distressed by any unpleasant thoughts. Simply focus on your chosen mantra, and let everything else go.
Can this be done at work? Absolutely. You don’t even need to close your eyes. Just sit back, set a timer for 5 minutes or so, and decide on what mantra you’d like to use.
Your mantra can be anything you like. A favorite quote, A word that means something special to you. Maybe it’s just a sound. All that matters is picking one thing and sticking with it. Repeating it silently (or aloud, if it suits you), and focusing on it as best you can. You’ll be quite wowed with just how relaxing this form of meditation can be.
There are lots of great resources on transcendental meditation if you’d like to learn more. See if you can incorporate a little more zen into your workday. Not only will your productivity skyrocket, but you’ll feel happier, healthier, and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
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