Simple Mini-Meditations for the Workday

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A recent survey conducted by Bupa showed that 28% of British workers don’t take a minute for themselves during the workday. And two thirds of employees are unable to take a proper lunch break, even for 20 minutes. So it’s little wonder that so many of us feel that we just don’t have the time to fit meditation into our day.

However, taking even just a few moments to slow down and calm our minds throughout the day can have a positive effect. After all, just one minute of mindfulness is better than none! So why not try these super simple mini-meditations to start off with.

A Few Deep Breaths Before Jumping Out of Bed

The alarm buzzes, jolting us from our sleep, and suddenly we’re facing another work day. If we like our job, then this isn’t such a bad thing. Yet if we dread going into work, these first few moments in the morning can be pretty tough. Taking a moment to calm our minds during this time could make a huge difference to how we feel for the rest of the day.

Before we jump out of bed and get busy with our morning routine, why not take just a few deep breaths first? As we breathe in deeply, we can notice how the oxygen fills our lungs and energises the body. As we breathe out, we can try to let go of any tension we’re holding in our neck, shoulders or back. Of course, consciously breathing for 10 or 20 minutes is proven to benefit us in many ways, but if we feel stretched for time, just three deep breaths can be enough to take us out of our default mood of dread or depression and into a more relaxed state of mind.

Have a Mindful Tea Break

Leaving our desks and spending a few minutes in the kitchen to make a hot drink can provide a nice break. If we add mindfulness, however, this time can feel even more enriching.

Try turning the process of making tea or coffee into a mindfulness meditation by slowing down every action, even if it’s only slightly. When we reach for our mug, instead of grabbing it from the cupboard, treat it as if it’s something precious. Notice how it feels in your hand – is it cool, or warm from the dishwasher or sink? Notice how the tea bag feels when you pick it up and place it in the mug, or how the coffee granules look as you dip a teaspoon into them. Watch how the boiling water pours into the mug, and how the coffee dissolves, or how the tea bag starts to turn the water a rich brown colour.

Noticing each individual step of the process can help us appreciate the present moment more. Instead of seeing this time as meaningless, as just a necessary thing to do in order to create a drink, we can use this time to remember that every moment can feel special, even the seemingly mundane ones, if we just take time to slow down and notice.

Take a Mindful Eating Moment in Your Lunch Break

Bupa’s survey showed that about a third of workers eat their lunch at their desks, and a quarter admitted to answering emails or using their work phones during lunch. This trend is having a detrimental effect, both to work productivity and to our physical and emotional health. Over half of the people surveyed said that skipping lunch puts them in a bad mood. However, while the length of our lunch breaks may be out of our control, we do have control over how we spend the time we do have.

We probably don’t have time to eat all of our lunch mindfully. Yet why not try eating at least the first two or three bites in a more mindful way? Before we start eating, we can take just a moment to look at our food, feel it in our hands, and appreciate the fact that we have something to eat. As we move our food up to our mouths, we can notice how it smells before taking a bite. When the food is in our mouths, we can focus our attention on how it tastes, and how the texture of it feels on our tongue, gums and teeth. Doing this, even just two or three times, can help our lunch feel more satisfying, and may also help us feel a little more in control of our time and our experience in the moment, rather than feeling that we are in a never-ending rush.

Mindful Listening in Meetings

In meetings, we’ll often find that our minds completely wander onto other topics, such as what we’ll cook for dinner, or ruminating about problems we’ll face when we return home in the evening. Yet this provides us with an excellent opportunity to practice mindfulness! After all, mindfulness isn’t about clearing our minds of thoughts; it’s about noticing what’s going on in our minds.

We don’t always need to be in a peaceful setting with our eyes closed in order to meditate. In essence, meditation is all about noticing when our mind is wandering away from what we want to focus on, whether that’s our breath, the food we’re eating, or a meeting. So when we realise that we are no longer listening, we can practice bringing our attention back to whoever is speaking. This way, we can easily bring meditation into our workday, whilst at the same time being more productive and present in our work roles.

Have you experimented with bringing more mindfulness into your workday? How did it change your experience? We’d love to hear your tips and stories in the comments below!

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