For most of us, the workplace is far from the CEO's office. Our work space is more likely an open cubicle, a classroom, a checkout counter, a warehouse, a car repair shop, or some other open environment that we can rarely escape for some quiet time. Many articles on mindfulness meditation in the workplace talk about closing your office door, retreating to the company meditation room, or retreating outdoors. For many of us this is not a reality, so we decide that mindfulness cannot be practiced during the workday and has to wait until we get home.
What we need to be mindful of is that meditation does not occur in a space, but in our mind. Though it may seem impossible, mindfulness meditation can occur wherever our mind is and our mind is always with us. So, instead of thinking that our meditation has to take place in some designated space, we need to be mindful of our daily activities and think about how to adapt mindfulness to what is happening in our lives from one moment to the next.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness meditation at work are many. Many of us may practice our meditation early in the morning or in the evening after work, when we have free time and few distractions. These daily sessions help to improve memory and focus, reduce stress, and can even promote a sense of purpose. But, during the workday, when we most strongly experience stress and feel overwhelmed, a short session of meditation can be most beneficial toward getting refocused and feeling a sense of balance.
There are many times throughout the day when we can take at least a few minutes to regain our center and release some tension. Many of us are on a work schedule that should give us a 10 to 15 minute break every few hours. If we are not on a schedule, we should be taking some break times throughout the work day. In some cases you may need to assert your right to take care of yourself at regular intervals throughout the work day.
During these breaks, you need to make choices to make the opportunity for quiet, mindful meditation. It's easy to engage in conversation with a co-worker, check the feed on our Facebook, review and reply to text messages and personal emails. But, these things are not centering. Schedule time if these things are important to you. If you have a 30 minute lunch break, allow a few minutes to check for anything messages that might need your attention such as texts from family members. We already know that the Facebook feed is not something that requires attention. Avoid pointless conversation with co-workers. It doesn't matter if they think you are being anti-social - you are living your life; they are not.
You can practice mindfulness while eating slowly and mindful. Again, your co-workers may think you are being weird, but it is your life and not theirs. Deep inside, their souls are hoping they would do exactly what you are doing. Once you complete your meal, take the remaining time to find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and turn more deeply inward. A restroom stall may work just fine, but being outside is better - even if it's just a short walk around the block.
Practice these little meditations at every opportunity and every day. Don't wait until you reach the point where you feel you "need a meditation session". Once you feel you are beyond stressed out, it's too late and short meditation will not be effective. Regular practice makes it easier to feel centered almost as quickly as your decision to take the time for mindfulness. The moment you start breathing or close your eyes, your mind, soul and body quickly fall into a relaxed state.
I hope this information has been helpful and will inspire you to engage in mindfulness meditation while at work.
Thank you for reading,
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