During our health retreats, we devote a lot of time discussing how meditation supports overall mental and physical wellbeing. By calming your mind and relaxing your body, you can improve concentration and reduce your stress level. Many of our guests love the benefits of meditation but struggle with trying to incorporate stillness into their busy schedules.
Luckily, there are really no hard and fast rules about how to meditate. Just a few basics that can be done anywhere–even at work. If you haven’t read our first article, “How to Meditate at Your Desk,” check it out now. It’s loaded with information about how meditation can slot into your work life.
If you’re still not sure about how meditation can fit into your professional schedule–or if you’re not totally convinced to try–here are 5 more tips that can help you reach a state of Zen in the middle of your workday.
Learn to love the mini distractions
Remember: meditation is not about achieving perfect silence, ultimate stillness, or falling asleep. It’s about being in a state of relaxed awareness, no matter what is happening around you. When you’re in a public place like a busy office, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to allow minor distractions to pass through your awareness without attaching to them. Ringing phones in the distance, doors opening and closing, and nearby foot traffic provide you with plenty of chances to practice letting go. Re-directing your thoughts back to your breath in the present moment, instead of heading down the rabbit hole of thoughts, helps you become a more focused and balanced individual.
Take off your shoes
Making a physical change sends a signal to your body that it’s time to get into a meditative state. Plus, it will help you relax. As you prepare to meditate, go barefoot or put on some comfy socks or slippers. Removing the barrier of hard shoe soles between your feet and the earth (even if you’re on the tenth floor of a high-rise office building) reminds you of your connection to the physical world. You’ll be surprised at the shift in sensation and the feeling of freedom that comes from simply connecting your feet to the ground below.
Aromatherapy is the use of particular scents to stimulate your sense of mental and emotional wellbeing. The popularity of this ancient technique is on the rise, so electric or candlelight diffusers are readily available online or in the Home section of major retail stores. Certain scents are ideal for focus and concentration, including peppermint, lemon, and lavender. For stress relief, try lavender, rose or bergamot. Feel free to use a few drops of these scents on their own, or in a combination that smells good you. These non-intrusive scents relax your mind and leave a lingering fresh scent behind.
Don’t keep it a secret
Meditation isn’t a weird or scary practice. Plenty of CEOs, renowned authors, and entertainment stars meditate frequently and credit much of their success to the practice. During our corporate wellness retreats, we help many organizations lay out a plan to bring meditation back into their workplace. So, feel free to speak openly about it. Tell your boss and co-workers what you’re up to. Invite them to get them onboard. If anyone seems interested, share your practice with others by setting aside time in a conference room or gathering in an office with plenty of space.
Once again, meditation does not need to occupy an entire afternoon–or even an entire hour. Start with 10 minutes and work your way up to a period that leaves you and your teammates feeling refreshed and re-energized.
Put meditation on your calendar–and stick to it
Self-care often falls to the bottom of the to-do list, especially when you have an important deadline approaching. Schedule time for meditation daily–during lunch or a break–by putting it on your calendar. If your workplace uses a shared calendar, make sure your co-workers know that you’re unavailable. A pledge to attend to your own wellness is only as effective as your commitment to follow through. Treat your own wellbeing as an important part of your professional process—because it is.
Incorporating meditation into your workday is an effective way to get into the habit. By using these five tips, you’ll soon find that meditation is not about taking “time out” of your day as much as it is about establishing a strong foundation for your personal and professional success.