Meditation brings overall mental well-being and helps to boost brain function. But how to meditate at work? Is the work environment really suitable to indulge in a meditation practice? Well, the answer is simply yes. You can have a complete session of mindfulness awareness at your office.
Here are a few ways in which meditation will improve your experience and help to manage stress at work:
- Reduce work-related stress
- Improve emotional regulation
- Enhance cognitive functioning
- Re-energize your present moment
These benefits of meditation sound great right? But the truth is, we haven’t even scratched the surface with this list.
7 Ways to Meditate at Work
The real question is how to meditate at work. Where to do it and what steps to follow?
- Try a Meditation App
In recent years, some really great meditation apps have been created. These apps offer full-fledged guided meditation and are easy to use anywhere.
Some apps like Headspace are amazing for beginners. Then there are apps like Insight Timer, which are great for people at all levels of meditation expertise.
The sessions in a meditation app are designed with a background beat of relaxing sounds along with easy to follow instructions. This combination is great at refreshing your mind and keeping you rooted into the present moment.
- Take Time To Practice Focus
Before you begin your day’s work, find a quiet place and give yourself five minutes of silent meditation. You can even do this at your own desk chair if you want.
Sit in a comfortable position with your back upright, and close your eyes. Breathe deeply in a natural rhythm, and focus on your breathing. Count your breaths to build concentration: count 1 when you inhale and count 2 when you exhale. Continue this until you have counted 10 breaths, then start over from 1.
This form of desk meditation is incredibly simple yet effective in keeping you productive throughout the day. The best part is that you can do this multiple times a day whenever the feeling of being distracted comes back.
- Take in Your Surroundings with a Deep Focus
Right after the silent meditation in focus practice, take a breath and slowly shift your attention to your surroundings. Focus on anything that you can feel.
Are you sitting on a chair or a sofa? Focus on your sensations. How does it feel? Focus on the way your hands stay at your side, then take your concentration down to the pressure points between your feet and the floor. Observe your body and detect which areas of your body are tensed or relaxed.
Address any intrusive emotions that you might be experiencing and label them “unimportant”. Nothing is important during these few minutes of mediation. You are in complete liberation from worries and triggers.
Bring your focus back into sensations. Notice what sounds you are hearing, notice the temperature in the room, and then slowly release the focus and open your eyes.
- Turn Your Lunch Break into a Mindfulness Session
Lunch marks an interval in your work day. This is the time when you can properly enjoy yourself with a nice meal that also provides you with adequate energy.
You can turn this time of the day even more enjoyable by getting in a moment of awareness. Meditation during lunch means eating mindfully. Begin by taking every bite with intention. If your mind wanders, bring focus back on the food. Notice the aroma of food, how it tastes, the texture of food, how it feels to chew and swallow.
Give yourself permission to slow down and stay calm during lunch. This will reflect well on your productivity for the second half of the day.
- Try a Walking Meditation
Take a walk outside of your work space. Go outside the office and enjoy a few moments of silence with yourself.
Walk slowly and be mindful of each step. Try to synchronize the steps you are taking with your breathing. As you walk, notice how your feet move, your knees, hamstrings, ankles and so on.
- Use Mantra Repetition to Manage Emotions
Repeating a mantra to yourself helps to lock in positive self affirmation. You can create your own mantra to customize your capacity to focus.
A mantra can be anything that helps you to focus on your goals. For example, if you are struggling with confidence, you can use a mantra like “I am confident.” If you are feeling unfocused, a mantra like “I am here” or “I am making great progress” will help.
As you recite the mantra, do not forget to take a deep breath on each repetition. Maintain a mantra repetition meditation along with breath work for 5 minutes to prepare yourself for future moments when your inner strength will be tested.
- Try a Visualization Meditation Technique
Imagine some visuals with your thoughts. Visual meditation is very powerful and requires a great deal of attention. The effects of this meditation technique create a deep engraving in our conscience by creating a visual stimulation to calm our senses.
Find a private space in the office and take five minutes for yourself to do this meditation. For example, imagine that your thought is like some sand you took on your palm. You are holding the sand but it keeps falling off through your fingers. Similarly, your thought also falls away from you. As the thought falls you lose all connection to it and now you are free from it.
Maintain proper breathing as you imagine these visuals. When you open your eyes, you will feel immediate positive impacts of this meditation practice.
4 Reasons for Meditating at Work
Meditation is a magical concoction made with all the ingredients necessary to free up the mind and resist mental blockades. The benefits of meditation practice are multifaceted. Here are 4 reasons why meditation at work can help you stay productive, stand out, and create better solutions.
- Stress Less
Meditation may diminish feelings of stress we experience at work on a daily basis. We let our mind wander unchecked when the stress takes control. However, with meditation we take back that control from our triggers.
Meditation affects three areas of the brain: amygdala (controls emotional impulses), gray matter (controls sensory perception and muscle stimulus), and the prefrontal cortex (controls decision-making).
Parts of the brain that are in charge of stress, fear and anxiety become less active, while the parts of the brain in charge of focusing and taking decisions become alert.
When we sit quietly and take deep breaths, our brain chemistry goes through significant rewiring. The neurological pathways in our brain alter, and our minds become stronger. With every deep breath we take, we learn to relax and be fully present with ourselves, this eliminates stress and increases self control.
- Increased Productivity and Focus
By breathing deeply during meditation, we enter a state of calmness and serenity. During this state, our senses are sharpened to deliver peak productivity. The first step, which has created conditions for us to manage stress, leads to the second step, which is a considerable amount of sustainable improvement in performance.
As we learn to stay in the present moment, the chatter in our mind stops. Naturally, we do not have to exert tremendous effort to stay focused anymore. Rather, we learn to have improved levels of productivity with effortless diligence for work.
- Efficient Team Work
Meditation practice makes people more patient and compassionate. The boost in mental health that is gained through the practice allows people to work well together efficiently.
Boosting the capacity for team work in the office brings great results through collaboration.
Meditation has been found to reduce aggression by 57% and decrease irritability by 27%. If there is distrust among team mates, then a few minutes of meditation in a quiet spot can reset the mood at work and build an easy-going environment for all members of the team.
- Increased Gratitude Towards the Job Role
When employees are practitioners of the stress reduction meditation technique, they have increased compassion for their co-workers and enhanced productivity at work. These conditions are far more conducive to growth than a fear-based system where the employees are under stress and anxiety.
Meditation unlocks a lot of untapped potential in employees. It helps them to calmly carry out their responsibilities, fulfill their designated roles and also focus on expanding their skillset for the development of their career.
All these factors together build gratitude in the hearts of the employees. Thus, there are improved levels of effort and attention to their job. Such a positive shift in employees’ attitudes create a ripple effect throughout the whole organization and contribute to bettering the overall workplace dynamics.
Importance of Meditation in the Workplace
Stress is a subliminal part of work. There are many benefits of meditating at work that helps against stress.
We are often under a lot of pressure to do well in our responsibilities and deliver certain gains for our employer in a limited amount of time. The fact that managers or employers are always at our backs at most times does not help ease up the situation.
Now let’s consider another situation. There are some days when you do not have much to do. Say, for instance, you are not under pressure at all. This is also a problem at work. Being too relaxed decreases productivity and makes you complacent at work. But you just can’t seem to be active while you sit comfortably in your cubicle. These are not good symptoms for the growth of your career,
Regular meditation practice can solve both of these problems and help you shine as a model employee at work. It can also get you your next promotion or the career breakthrough you have been waiting for.
List of Studies that Prove Effectiveness of Mindfulness Meditation
The success of mindfulness meditation to reduce stress has been proven in reviews of over 200 research studies. Research shows that mindfulness meditation may reduce stress, depression and anxiety. Regular practice may also stop a relapse in the indefinite future.
Here are some studies that have proven the amazing benefits of using meditation techniques:
- Study in Detroit
Many offices now arrange mindfulness programs to help their employees perform better.
A study in Detroit found that there was a 120% rise in productivity, while hand in hand, an 85% decrease in absenteeism after employees attended such programs.
- Study by Emory-Tibet Partnership
A study conducted by the Emory-Tibet partnership has found out that regular meditation practice can improve interpersonal relationships at work.
People who have achieved a calm mental state through meditation are able to read facial expressions accurately. This creates compassion and improves understanding between co-workers. Ultimately serving as a motivational factor to encourage more efficiency and productivity at work.
- Study at University of Groningen
This study conducted in the Netherlands has discovered that there is a close connection between creativity and mindfulness. In the workplace, this translates to a better proficiency in important qualities such as brainstorming and problem-solving skills.
- Study at Harvard Medical School
A study held in South California compared the merits of mindfulness meditation and relaxing vacations. Results for employees showed that the benefits of meditation were the same as those of a vacation.
However, 10 months down the line there was an interesting development. Long-term assessment revealed that subjects who practiced meditation regularly maintained extraordinary levels of efficiency and productivity in their performance.
On the other hand, subjects who had gone on a vacation showed no extraordinary peaks in performance at the 10-month mark.
More Evidence Proving the Importance of Meditation at Work
If you are still not convinced of the many benefits of meditation to your problems at work, then here is some more evidence backed by science.
Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR), which is a lengthy therapeutic intervention that helps reduce fatigue, stress and also improves physical health!
Work related stress can become chronic, leading to an impairment of the normal functions of the body which includes the immune system. If you are frequently falling sick due to stress at the office, here’s your big savior.
If a stress response is not lowered, your body will go into overdrive. This will lead to health problems such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and even diabetes. Meditation techniques like MBSR have been especially effective in managing stress, and eliminating such problems from escalating.
Additionally, neuroimaging research has found that meditation practice during stressful times lowers the body’s trigger response to stress by influencing crucial neural pathways in the brain responsible for regulating attention and emotion regulation systems.
Research shows tremendous positive change with a well-maintained meditation routine. This positive impact is developed due to the activation of two key structures of the brain, which are:
- Gray matter: This part of the brain that is responsible for planning, problem-solving and emotional regulation, increases.
- Cortical Thickness: This part of the brain associated with learning and creating memories, is also enhanced.
Meditation is self care. By providing overall well being to the body, along with prolonging resistance against a wandering mind, meditation can fully bring awareness back and help us to re focus on our work with diligence.
We should learn how to meditate at work. It can save us from expending a strenuous amount of effort to finish important tasks. A few moments of desk meditation can save hours at work and make our performance more effective and remarkable in the office.