How to start practicing mindfulness at work ?
Now, although its benefits are clear and tangible (as neuroscience has shown through numerous studies conducted over the past 15 years), the practice of mindfulness and meditation requires stamina and perseverance !
Our modern hectic lives don’t always give us the chance to sit in meditation at 4 a.m for hours like a Tibetan monk in the Himalayas, do they ?
So what do we do ? Where do we start ?
The very good news is that it starts with you, now, and simply.
Yes, you can find online many guided mindfulness meditations. But even guided meditations can be difficult to start with. Here is a very simple way to get you started:
– Sit comfortably, and try to be alert and relax at the same time.
– Closing your eyes, start to take 3 long breaths.
– Then, start to pay attention to your breath, following the inhale and the exhale.
– If that helps to ground your focus, you can also pay attention to the sensation at the tip of your nose as the air goes in and out through your nose and your lungs.
– If the mind gets agitated (and it will !), when you realize you started to get lost in your thoughts, gently come back to the breath. Without any judgment or attachment.
– Start to also pay attention to the bodily sensations, by mentally scanning different parts of your body. Do you notice contractions?
And just do that for 5 mins, every day.
Although it has been shown that a daily practice of at least 20 mins brings more benefits, simply doing the above for only 5 mins a day will make a big difference.
How were you when you started 5 mins ago? How are you now ? Do you notice a difference in the quality of your thoughts ? Your emotions ?
Now, you might ask yourself : “that is great, but how do I do that at work?! ». « I go from one meeting to another, I do not have any time for that !”
Well, first , I am sure you can find 5 mins in your day, right? Why not setting your clock or a reminder on your computer ? At a time when you know you can have 5 mins. It could be when you arrive in the office ? Or before you actually go to work ? Or just before lunch time ?
As long as you do not close your eyes while in your car, you should be fine !
One last comment.
Say you manage to establish a routine. And are experiencing difficulties in your life (at work or elsewhere). You might drop your practice, because those difficulties can be challenging or even overwhelming. And as result, you might decide to stop your practice for one day, one week, or even months. That is ok ! The same way you go back to your breath when you get distracted, simply notice without any judgement or self-criticism that indeed you have stopped your practice. And gently reestablish it the next minute, or the next day.
Over time, you will be able to notice differences in how you go through your day at work (and elsewhere) whether you have been able to maintain a regular practice and when have not. And your colleagues or team members might notice it too !
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