Whether you’re an entrepreneur or working a regular 9-5, work can be stressful and overwhelming. Especially in a world of smartphones and social media, it can be hard to find a minute and switch off. Thankfully there’s a free, simple, and healthy way to manage a busy lifestyle: meditation and mindfulness.
Why you should try meditation
People tend to discount meditation before they even give it a shot. A bunch of breathing exercises- what’s the big deal? Since the benefits of meditation aren’t instant, it can be difficult to see the value. Here are a few reasons to consider mediation:
Meditation can boost your productivity – Entrepreneurs and other busy minds will be pleased to hear that a few minutes of thoughtfulness can help re-energize your body and improve focus and memory. Even if you have a packed schedule, meditation will give you the tools to take on the day.
Meditation can give you a creative edge – Our minds are naturally busy with random thoughts and feelings (processed in the neocortex section of our brain) and can become overwhelming. Meditation helps to clear the mind, allowing thoughts to come more clearly, which makes communication easier.
Meditation can reduce stress, elevate mood – Stress is a combination of psychological and biological responses to a situation, such as a disagreement at work, or an issue at home. Meditation not only clears the mind but helps lower blood pressure through the act of breathing.
Meditation can also keep you from burning out. Learn more about burnout syndrome in our previous post.
How to meditate at work
1. Schedule time
Meditation is something that needs to be scheduled, otherwise, you’ll always put it off in favor of completing a more pressing task. The best time of day to meditate varies from person to person, but many will agree that early morning meditation can be an effective way to start the day. Set aside 30 minutes, even if 10 minutes is the most you can do at the start. But try to make some time.
Check out these five helpful time-management hacks that could aid in making time for meditation throughout the day.
2. Make space
Meditating at your desk isn’t impossible, but can be a challenge when there are others sharing your table, a computer with ongoing notifications, or clutter all over. Find an isolated space to meditate, such as an empty office or even the bathroom stall. The fewer distractions, the sharper your focus.
3. Ditch the phone
I know it sounds difficult, but try silencing and even distancing yourself from your phone during meditation. Constant notifications and calls only serve to distract you. There’s plenty of time during the day to respond to the most pressing alerts, but for ten minutes, set even social media aside as well.
4. Fix your posture
Whether you’re sitting on a chair or cross-legged on the floor, effective meditation begins with a correct body posture. Straighten your back (but not to the point of discomfort), place your feet flat on the floor, and rest your palms on your lap. Face straight ahead as you breathe in and out.
5. Start with Shamatha meditation
There are different kinds of meditations to practice, but the foundation for most (and the best place to start as a beginner) is with Shamatha meditation. Shamatha is focused on deep concentration. Focus on the depth of your breath over other distractions. As soon as you catch yourself getting distracted, bring your attention back to your breath. For some, counting breaths may be helpful.
6. Listen to guided sessions
Sometimes meditation can be difficult for beginners. That’s when guided meditation can help. Some apps or recordings feature someone walking you through some breathing exercises. This video on YouTube is geared towards meditation specialized in overcoming anxiety and has gained over 12 million views. Headspace is another alternative, a free app on the iOS and Google Play store with beautiful animations, and soothing narration from Andy Pudicombe.
Here is Puddicombe giving a TED Talk on slowing down to better enjoy life.
7. Develop a daily habit
Meditation isn’t a single exercise, nor can you expect to feel a difference after a few days. It’s a daily commitment to set aside time to clear your mind. No matter how busy you may be, you should always have a few minutes to slow down, focus on breathing, and sift through the noise of your thoughts.
Healthier, Happier Living
We set aside hours to work on difficult and stressful projects, sometimes even ignoring the other facets of life. But we seldom set aside a few minutes to focus on our own personal health. Meditation is one of those activities that people “don’t believe in” because they can hardly believe the benefits.
The only way to find out is to try yourself. Take a few minutes each day to clear your mind, and focus only on your breathing. It might be easier and more helpful than you think.
Want to learn more? Check out our other low-cost ways to encourage better employee health.
Meditation is just one step towards happier work experiences. Learn more cultivating happiness at work.
Read our blog for other useful guides on employee wellness and productivity.