Mindfulness meditation is a simple, non-religious technique for developing greater awareness and peace.
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In this blog post, you will learn a simple, easy-to-follow meditation technique based on the same mindfulness practices developed over the centuries. This meditation technique uses your breathing as an anchor to your awareness. It is an effective way to quiet your mind and become more focused, calm, and clear. If you practice mindfulness at work, you will learn:
- To experience the benefits of regular mindfulness practice.
- How to use the breath as an anchor for awareness
- How to quiet the mind and follow the breath
- How to deal with obstacles to meditation
- The science behind mindfulness meditation and how it can affect mental and health
How to experience the benefits of regular mindfulness practice at work
To experience the benefits of a mindfulness practice at work, you must first slow down in every action just enough to notice what's happening. Mindfulness practice involves being aware of the current moment and in the moment. Most people never are entirely in the moment because they are distracted by competing thoughts. For you to be in the moment and mind for a while at work, you must commit to noticing how you feel, what you're doing, and what distractions are coming to mind. At first, this might seem impossible. You're so busy already, how could you ever slow down enough to notice?
The truth is, you really have to slow down at all physically, it's a slowing of the mental exercise of work.
Instead of rushing from one email to the next or one meeting to the next, you simply need to take a moment to check in with yourself. Ask questions like
- How am I feeling?
- How did that last task go?
- What did my actions seem to do to other people around me? What is my breath like at the moment?
These questions can seem overwhelming, but the truth is they can be done in a moment. Once trained to be mindful at work, you can notice all of these things in just a split second. Ideally, you would do this exercise of noticing every hour or more. It shouldn't interfere with your work at all; to the contrary, it should improve your work and quicken your pace.
How to use the breath as an anchor for awareness
The breath is an anchor in mindfulness meditation. It's merely an experience that you can go back to when your mind wanders. The longer you can pay attention to your breathing, the longer you can be mindful. You can really pick anything you want though, you can pay attention to a scene, notice the sensation of touch you're experiencing, or scan your body for sensations.
Being mindful of your breath is the easiest because it's so accessible. You're always breathing, so you can still pay attention to your breathing. It's also nice because it can be done with your eyes closed or in a quiet and dark space. This also makes it rejuvenating.
To use your breath as an anchor for awareness at work, simply notice your breathing for 5 to 10 breaths no matter what environment you're in. When you're done with a batch of emails, simply pay attention to your breath and noticed the inhale and exhale. One of the common problems is to start artificially controlling your breath, which can be stressful. Let your breath be normal and uninterrupted; simply pay attention to it. Notice the inhale and the exhale.
This probably sounds too easy and like it wouldn't be of any benefit, but that's not true. This is an incredibly beneficial exercise you can do it work to reduce stress and improve your performance. Using your breath as an anchor for awareness is foundational to mindfulness meditation. It can be done moment by moment at work.
How to quiet the mind and follow the breath
It can be tough to follow the breath when your mind is active and wandering. The best piece of advice is to be kind to yourself and go back to paying attention to your breath when your mind wanders. Many people will become frustrated with their frantic thoughts, and they will give up on mindfulness meditation. That's a mistake; when your mind wanders, simply be kind to yourself, thank your mind for being so active, and go back to paying attention to your breath.
Not used to being kind to yourself and forgiving yourself when you have wandering thoughts? Today's your lucky day; you get to begin a lifetime of being kind to yourself and forgiving yourself. In mindfulness meditation, you must forgive yourself when your thoughts wander and gently bring your attention back to your breath no matter what's happened.
How to deal with obstacles to meditation
Obstacles are everywhere in life. Don't let barriers keep you from enjoying mindfulness at work. The common obstacles include a sense of rushed urgency and distractions. Remember, work will always be there for you, so allow moments of urgency to pass just long enough to be mindful for a few moments. You wouldn't think twice about getting a glass of water if you were thirsty, so why think twice about spending 15 s seconds paying attention to your breath when you're stressed? Distractions occur everywhere, including work. When you are distracted and not mindful of your thoughts, bring your attention back to the present situation with kindness. Don't let the obstacles of urgency and distractions keep you from enjoying the peak performance that mindfulness gives you at work.
The science behind mindfulness meditation and how it can affect mental and health
There is a growing body of evidence around the health benefits of mindfulness meditation. From lower stress hormones like cortisol to improved mood and sleep, it appears mindfulness meditation can positively impact many aspects of your life. As with all things, consult with your doctor before trying anything new.