Work is an area in our life in which we can see a great deal of stress and anxiety. Do you feel stress or anxiety when you get up every morning to go to work? Do you have a coworker or a pesky client that’s causing you anxiety? If so a mindful meditation practice may help.
Meditation is the practice of entering into the present moment through the act of meditation or conscious breath work. Meditation isn’t about changing yourself and suddenly becoming enlightened, it’s more about the ability to see when you are in a heightened situation and use the tools you’ve learned to calm the mind and body before reacting.
Meditation can be something that happens for 5 seconds or 20 minutes depending on your own personal practice. There is no expectation with meditation besides the ability to catch mind racing and help bring it back to stability and peace in the moment.
I’ve offered 5 techniques to use to combat stress in the workplace.
1. Set Your Intention and Focus on a Mantra
When sitting down to a meditation session take a moment to reflect upon why you are meditating. Perhaps it’s to ease stress and anxiety, perhaps it’s just to take a moment alone for yourself. Whatever it might be think about that intention mindfully setting your objective for the practice.
You can also think of a positive affirmation or a mantra in which you can repeat to yourself. This might be something like “I am powerful,” “I am loving,” “I am free from stress” anything that calls to you pick the mantra gently repeating it to yourself. I’ve found that focusing on a few words of advice for yourself is a good way to stay in the present moment without the mind needing to race to the next thing.
Use this mantra as a guide for your meditation repeating consciously on each inhale and exhale for 5-10 minutes. If after a while you find yourself coming to peace in the moment you can drop the repetitive mantra and just focus on the breath.
As time goes on and your practice strengthens you’ll notice less of a need for the inner talk, and if not that’s okay! Anything that can help guide you into the present moment is helpful and necessary to aide in reliving stress and anxiety.
2. Count Your Breath
Another effective technique when first starting meditation is to count your breath. For each inhale and exhale pick the same number (for example 3 seconds) and consciously count 1-2-3 for each set of breath. This is a helpful technique as it allows your mind to focus on counting rather than allowing the monkey mind to spiral into endless thoughts. As your practice strengthens you can lengthen your count to 5 or 7 – whatever number feels comfortable to you.
This is also an effective means to strengthen your lung capacity as you work towards the higher numbers. Often times we are either belly or chest breathers and don’t fully utilize the full capacity of our lungs. Practicing this mindful counting can help us reach the depths of our lungs that are not being inflated on a regular basis.
3. Focus on Relaxing Individual Body Parts
Doing a full body scan is another effective way to enter into a meditative state. Starting from the tips of your toes slowly move through each area of the body gently telling yourself to relax. For example, “wiggle your toes and let them relax” going through the entire body slowly and mindfully until you get to the crown of your head. Focusing attention on individual body parts allows you to mentally check into area in which you are having trouble or may not be paying much attention to. There is no need for judgement if anything comes up in a certain area just recognize it and gently move on.
Once you have completed a full body scan you should feel relaxed enough to do a few rounds of mindful breath work peacefully. If not no worries, just keep practicing!
4. Enlightened Meditation
Enlightened meditation is perhaps my favorite form of meditation. This is a form of meditation where you focus on a specific archetype or light force allowing your imagination to take over. The best way to find this focus in through the spiritual eye or the third eye chakra seated at the crown of the forehead. The spiritual eye is known to be doorway in which our minds can penatrate into our inner kingdom.
In this practice it’s important to focus your attention on this area of the head envisioning a light force coming from that space. For some it is hard to physically imagine a light, but it is important to keep the mind focused on light even if you aren’t actually seeing light. If the concept of light isn’t calling you you can also focus on a spirit animal that comes to mind.
Once you have focused the mind on a specific object or idea you can play with that force within perhaps working on sending the light into the room filling up all the area around you or inverting the light within throughout your being. This form of meditation is an effective way to heal the mind and body by offering your inner self positive energy and peace within.
5. Peaceful Meditation
The final form of meditation to try is the traditional silent meditation where one focuses on quieting the mind in order to find inner peace and silence. This form is best practiced by seasoned Veteran’s like the Buddhists monk’s who spend hours a day in silence. However, you don’t have to practice this form for hours to reap the benefits.
Committing yourself to just 5 minutes a day can help change the inner workings of your brain known as “neuroplasticity.” Through a consistent meditation practice scientists have found that the prefrontal cortex (part of the brain in charge of your happiness) was more active, as well as many feel more focused and conscious leading to less stress and anxiety.
Taking the time each day to practice one of these mindful meditation techniques will help relieve stress and anxiety in the workplace. Any time you are feeling anxious at work take a five minute bathroom break, or a walk down the hall allowing yourself time to reset during a hectic time. You will find as a result there is less tension in your mind and body and you will be able to address problems with greater ease.
Does your company offer a corporate wellness program or a meditation program? Comment below!