What are the Benefits of Meditating at Work?
You will spend the majority of your life working, especially if you fall into the category of a 9-5er or a 10 or 12-hour day worker. The hours spent on the job are often accompanied by good moments, bad moments, and downright stressful times that can spill over into your personal life. Meditation has been shown to directly ease stress by decreasing cortisol levels in the brain, mitigating the typical stressors that people experience at work.
Hard work comes with the risk of burnout. Feelings such as fatigue, poor concentration, and a lack of brainpower can all affect how you perform your job, affecting your overall feelings towards your position. We all love to succeed at our jobs, and meditation can improve cognitive function, boost memory, and help prevent burnout.
According to an article published in The New York Times, meditating as a group with your colleagues can help to increase positive collaboration, teamwork innovation, and the quality of work produced by a group.
Adding “Me Time” To Your Workday
Even the busiest of days can benefit from meditation, and since you can choose how long you practice, it can fit in at almost any time.
While on Break
Breaks to eat, stretch your legs, or recharge for the upcoming work ahead are an integral part of the day. So why not, on a break, find a quiet place in the office to bring yourself back into the present moment? Depending on your level of meditation experience, the practice will be different.
- Novice: If you’re not skilled at meditation, you can choose from the plethora of apps available to guide you towards a mental break. Find a good place and start with a short practice of about five minutes. It may seem like a short duration, but help shut out the buzz of the worker bees around you by using a guided meditation app. Do this for five minutes in the morning and again after lunch. You’ll be surprised how effective even a quick spurt of meditation can be for reducing your overall stress levels at work.
- Expert: Expert meditators may want to indulge in longer practices. At work, this can be a bit tricky. After all, you can’t just stop doing your job for two hours. The good news is that once you’ve mastered the art of meditation, you can do it just about anywhere. Sitting at your desk can be a great place to do a quick stress-busting session.
Using your break time to meditate instead of catching up on emails or scrolling through social media is much better for keeping work stress at bay. It helps you stay in the present moment and be more productive throughout the day.
Your lunch break is perfect for getting a solid meditation in because you have more time, and you can leave your office. If you are close to a park, go outside and let nature enhance your practice. Even a short guided or unguided meditation can be done on a half-hour lunchtime. There are even some types of meditation that you can do while you eat.
- Mindful eating: Meditating while eating is the art of being hyper-aware of the textures, tastes, and all other senses of eating a meal. This purposeful way of consuming food will allow you to savour each bite and enjoy each moment you have on your lunch break. It helps to clear the mind and makes the experience of chowing down that much more pleasurable.
- Practicing in a park close to your office: Heading out into nature (or as naturalistic an area as possible) can elevate your practice. The fresh air helps bring clear-headedness, and the natural world is proven to relieve stress.
Eating and being outside are both great ways you can incorporate meditation into the mid-break of your workday. Why not do both together!
Try Chair Yoga
Doing chair yoga at your desk is a quick and easy way to rest and recharge while you work. Anyone can do it, and the small series of stretches can help ground you and bring you back to yourself. Here are some stretches to try:
- Overhead stretch: Sit with your arms down by your sides and take a deep breath as you slowly reach your arms up to the ceiling. Hold the position for a moment and take a long exhale as you slowly bring your arms back down to your sides.
- Neck stretch: Sitting up straight, extend your neck, pushing your head towards the ceiling. Hold the base of the chair with the right hand and reach upwards and across with the left. Once your left-hand meets your temple, take a deep breath and dip your left ear towards your left shoulder. Take a few deep breaths in this position and switch sides.
- Seated cat-cow stretch: While seated, straighten your back and activate your core. Inhale while arching your back as far as you can. Hold in position for a few breaths. Once you’ve completed your breaths, invert your body into a ‘cat’ position so that your back is curved forward. Hold for several breaths and repeat.
Work can be stressful, and sometimes, that stress follows you long after your commute home. It’s not always possible to avoid it, but meditation during your workday can help alleviate it. Meditation is designed to bring you back into the present moment, making you more productive, calm, and ready to take on any tasks thrown your way.