The practice of meditation itself is traditionally quite intimidating. For centuries yogis, Mystics, monks, and religious leaders alike have dedicated entire lifespans to the pursuit of perfecting their meditative practice. But, you don’t have to go to these extremes. Here are some immediately applicable steps you can use that take mere minutes of your day to reap serious psychological and professional benefits from daily meditation.
Take a cool 10 minutes in the morning
The pressures we face in our professional lives are greatly exasperated by the limited amount of time we all have to dedicate to a growing list of responsibility. A seemingly simple,but often difficult habit to form is building in time at the beginning of each workday to center our minds to mentally (and emotionally) prepare for the long day ahead. Try to arrive a little early each day for this precise purpose. If you work 9-5 and are expected to begin promptly at 9am, arrive at 8:45 to begin settling in. It is in this time-frame you will be able to effectively introduce a daily meditation.
Do not be pulled away by email or voicemail.
Set a timer on your phone for ten minutes, or if you listen to music dedicate at least two songs (preferably with no lyrics) for your meditation. This is the time you will set aside. Be diligent to dedicate the entire 10 minutes to its function. Do not be pulled away by email or voicemail. If it could wait until 8:45… It can also wait until 9.
One of the inherent physical benefits of meditation results from a concentrated flow of oxygen through the bloodstream. Deep and deliberate breathing brings vitality to your body and should be one of your main points of focus in your practice. If you suffer from allergies or cold symptoms that hinder your ability to inhale deeply try peppermint oil or eucalyptus as an aid to clear your airways. The deeper the inhale the more oxygen you will be able to send to your brain and other areas of bodily tension. Breathe in through the nose, and out through the mouth.
This is an excellent time to bring yourself back to neutral before you start your workday. Gently close your eyes to focus on your breathe. Try to ease into a departure from stress, whether it is an upcoming deadline or something from home-life this is the time to escape it.
visualize a broom sweeping thoughts from your mind
I have heard of a method to visualize a broom sweeping thoughts from your mind, though I am quite fond of allowing my thoughts to drift casually overhead as I remain a passive observer. Whatever you can do to clear your mind will be worth it. When you have ended your quick meditation, you should have a clearer mind as you start the day.
Another quite effective method of meditation that lends itself incredibly well to integration with work is the repetition of a mantra. Outlined incredibly well for beginners, Eknath Easwaran’s Passage Meditation: Bringing the deep wisdom of the heart into daily life provides a guide for this meditation practice which is as personable as it is accessible. Throughout your workday, dedicate time to focus on repeating a verse, prayer, passage, or mantra that gathers you focus, controls your emotions, and informs your reaction to others around you.
While these suggestions are not as immersive as a true mediation practice. They are very easy habits to form in the workplace that over time will lead to better stress management, increased vitality, and ideally a more productive you.