Mental wellness

How meditation can help you at work

Has your work schedule become more challenging due to the pandemic? Find out how meditation can help you reduce stress and improve your focus during working hours. 

You may be working from home for now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t mean your schedule is any less strenuous. For example, your workday calendar may consist of various projects, numerous video calls and client deadlines. And, you may be trying to accomplish all these tasks with kids or family members at home with you. 

In such a case, you might feel like you barely have a moment to eat lunch, much less take time for yourself. Although it can sound a little counterintuitive, slowing down and practicing meditation at work may actually boost your productivity. Here’s how.  

How does meditation improve your productivity at work? 

With your phone, email, chat channels and people at home demanding all your attention, it can be challenging to focus on one task. But this host of competing obligations actually makes the case for why you need to try meditation at work for better focus. Training your mind to pay attention to the present moment can relieve your multitasking habit and increase your productivity. 

The benefits are scientifically proven. One study found that meditation reduced “mind wandering” by 22%. In another study, participants in a 10-minute meditation session enjoyed heightened attention and performance compared with a control group. It’s worth noting that the participants were meditation “novices,” meaning that they didn’t have specific experience to draw on. 

Work can be stressful, especially if you’re trying to improve your performance. Meditation can help there, too. Another study found that regular, on-the-job meditation by employees led to decreased stress levels and more engagement.  

With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that some organizations now encourage meditation as a way to foster employee wellness and improve performance. But even if your company isn’t proactively suggesting meditation during working hours, you can easily adopt the practice yourself. Here’s how.  

How can you start meditating at work? 

As the benefits of workplace meditation become more known, it could become an accepted daily practice. In the meantime, consider these more practical ways to meditate at work: 

1. Create a morning ritual that’s calming  

Rather than immediately opening your inbox, begin your morning with yoga or meditation to help center yourself before approaching the demands of the day. You may find it creates a reservoir of calm you can revisit all day. 

2. Squeeze meditation into your daily schedule

Believe it or not, you might get less done when you’re multi-tasking. That’s why it may be more productive to focus on one project. To avoid being constantly distracted, try turning off notifications and scheduling a specific time to answer emails. 

You can also train your mind to focus on a specific task by setting aside a few moments to practice meditation. You can recite a positive mantra, like “I am here; I am present; I am ready” or “Everything I need is within me” before diving in.  

Remember to take frequent breaks to recharge and breathe, paying attention to your inhale and exhale. 

3. Put an appointment on your phone that reminds you to “STOP” 

The acronym STOP stands for: 

  • stop, 
  • take a breath, 
  • observe what’s going on around you, and 
  • proceed.  

Focus on breathing deeply and exhaling tension with each breath. This practice only takes a minute or two. But it could be the brief break you need to quiet your mind from distractions and relieve stress. 

4. Take time to stretch during work 

As you type, notice the sensation of your fingers striking the keyboard. If you’re walking to the communal printer, focus on your feet moving across the carpet. Take a stretch break and feel the stress leaving your body as you tense and relax various muscles. 

5. Try a meditation app 

Popular meditation apps like Headspace and Insight Timer have guided meditations you can conduct at work. You don’t even have to find a quiet spot. That’s a huge plus since silence can be hard to come by as we work and school from home.  

Just turn off any notifications and focus on yourself and your breath to help you return to work more centered. 

While the practice of meditation dates back to ancient history, it still has a place in our busy digital world. If you’re looking to reap the benefits of a calmer lifestyle and boost your workplace productivity, try making meditation a daily practice. 

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