Meditation is nothing new. And it doesn't require anything that you don't already have in this exact moment.
That's the beauty and simplicity of meditation--there's nowhere to go, nothing to own, nothing to lose, and everything to gain by finding stillness during a chaotic day at work.
Too often we fumble through our days at the mercy of demands--our bosses, our clients, or schedules, or our chaotic thought-filled minds.
It's so easy to get sucked into the fast pace of daily life that most people forget what it's like to notice their breath. To be aware of their bodies. To simply watch their thoughts pass by like leaves on a stream.
That type of presence, connection, and attunement to our present experience is all too rare in our personal and professional lives. And the more we get back to that state of mind, the better we feel, the clearer we think, and the happier we become.
As a coach and licensed therapist who frequently teaches mindfulness techniques to clients, I wanted to write a brief article on tips that my clients find helpful when learning how to meditate.
Some of what I discuss are different ways to practice mindfulness meditation. Others are resources commonly recommend.
My hope is that someone new to meditation--or new to consistently practicing meditation--can read this article and then re-connect with the present moment.
Read the list below to discover seven ways to practice mindfulness meditation at work.
1. Use a popular meditation app for a quick refresher.
There are many great meditation apps to try. I recommend downloading several free apps until you find one that feels like a good fit. When working with clients, the first two I recommend are Insight Timer and Headspace. Headspace is great for beginning technique and Insight Timer has many incredible free guided meditations for a wide range of experiences and expertise.
2. Before jumping into your task list, take five minutes to count your breaths.
As little as five minutes can make a big difference in your day. One of the easiest ways to engage in mindfulness meditation is to focus on the breath.
Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Now take natural, even, rhythmic breaths. While you're breathing in, count one, when you breathe out, count two. Once you get up to the count of 10, start over at one.
This simple meditation technique is excellent for beginners and individuals that want to develop razor-sharp focus.
3. Allow yourself to melt into the present by focusing on sensations and sounds.
After coming to a comfortable rest in meditation with your eyes closed and your breath slowing, turn your attention to the sensation of your body in the chair. To the pressure of your feet on the floor. Bring your awareness to your hands as they rest on your legs. Scan your body from head to toe stopping to acknowledge areas of tension and relaxation.
Then, turn your attention outward to all of the sounds you can hear where you're sitting. Notice everything that hits your eardrum. There's no need to respond to or do anything--for these few minutes, you're just witnessing your experience.
This technique is great for relaxing and feeling grounded.
4. Deepen your experience of eating during lunch by being mindful.
Instead of rushing through each bite, savor them. Notice the smell of the food, how it looks, and the complexity of its taste. Bring your awareness to what it feels like to chew and swallow. Give yourself permission to be fully present in eating or conversations.
This type of meditation will help you reset and re-focus for the second half of your day.
5. Step outside to try a refreshing walking meditation.
Get outside of the office and deep within yourself. Standing still, bring your awareness to your feet, ankles, calves, knees, hamstrings, quads, and your hips. Begin walking slowly and really notice what it feels like to walk--how many moving parts are involved in each simple step. Synchronize your breath with each step for bonus points.
This type of active meditation is not only relaxing, it can help you release unnecessary tension from your mind and body.
6. Experiment with repeating a silent mantra.
Feel free to create your own mantra or phrase to repeat during meditation. You can pick something as simple as "relax," or "I am here, I am present, I am ready." After you've decided what mantra you'd like to focus on, start repeating it over and over again in your mind. Align your words with your breath so that it can be rhythmic and consistent.
This type of meditation can help prepare you for upcoming events when you need to perform your best.
7. Change it up with a visualization-based meditation.
For something new, try visualizing something. This can be as simple as imaging yourself sitting by a stream. As you're sitting at this stream, notice how beautiful the clear blue water is as it flows right to left. When you notice a thought, visualize it as a leaf on the stream. Watch it float away as you remain in the calm presence of watching this scene take place.
This type of meditation is great for re-connecting to the present moment. Sometimes there are many leaves--and that's perfectly okay! Notice them and you are meditating.
That's what's amazing about meditation--there are millions of ways to practice, and not a single one of them is wrong.
Hit the pause button at work. Reconnect to your breath. And feel the deep peace that is always accessible when coming into contact with the present moment.