By Nicole Tinkham
Ever have one of those wonky days at work where you just can’t seem to get anything done? You start a million tasks and feel like you’ve worked hard all day yet are still unproductive. Then the stress kicks in because a whole day of work went by and nothing significant got accomplished. If you can relate, you need to get yourself focused. Luckily, there’s a simple trick that can help you at work and in your personal life. And guess what? It’s not any kind of huge secret either. In fact, this simple trick has been around for thousands of years because it really WORKS! Taking just 5 minutes a day to do it can help you gain focus, have a clear vision of your defined goals, guide you toward success, inspire you to be the best you can be, help your mind work in creative ways, make you more alert and ready to take action, calm you down when things get stressful, and reinforce your drive and passion. It sounds unbelievable that one action can help you achieve all of this but there’s no doubt in our minds that if done right, you can make it happen. It’s all about clearing your head and letting go of your stress.
You’ve probably heard of meditation before, right? We understand that sitting quietly with your eyes closed can seem like bogus or just an excuse to take a nap to some but the benefits of meditation are out of this world. Of course, we can’t guarantee you’ll see all the benefits listed above after just one session. It actually takes practice and is very difficult to totally clear your mind. Your thoughts will wander and you’ll probably think about the endless to-do list that you have yet to complete. But trust us when we say that meditation is not a waste of time. Taking 5 minutes from your work day to clear your mind can increase your productivity helping you get that to-do list done even faster. Here are some quick methods of meditation that you can do right at your desk to help you get started.
1. Focus on your breathing. This is probably the most common meditation method. Sit down with your back against the chair, feet flat on the floor, and hands relaxed in your lap. This is how all of your sessions should start. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Focus on the rise and fall of your chest, abdomen, and shoulders with each breath. If your mind wanders, simply bring it back to your breathing. This is normal and you’ll get better at focusing the more you practice. Continue for about 5 minutes or when you feel like you’ve totally cleared your mind. Slowly enter the room again by wiggling your toes and fingers and open your eyes when you’re ready. Your session is now complete.
2. Focus on one positive word. Start this session the same as the one above with your feet flat on the floor, back against the chair, and body relaxed. Now think about one positive word. “Peace” is a great one especially when in the office. Calm your breathing and say the word in your head. Pause and say it again. If your mind wanders, simply bring it back and continue to focus on that word. After 5 minutes, return back to the room by wiggling your toes and fingers and open your eyes.
3. Incorporate sound/music. If you have a hard time focusing, get your headphones out and play some relaxing music or sounds. We recommend the sound of rain or waves crashing on the beach. Start your session the same by sitting comfortably and relaxing your body. Now focus on what you’re hearing whether it be the beat of the song or a seagull off in the distance. Finish up the session when you’re ready as mentioned in the previous methods.
4. Focus on your body. Starting your session the same, close your eyes, relax your body, and calm your breathing. You’ll be doing a body scan, focusing on different parts of your body starting with the crown of your head. Focus on any feeling you have in that area. Is it hot or cool? Do you feel a tingling sensation? Even if you feel nothing, keep your focus on that area. Now move down to your face, then shoulders, arms, fingers, etc. leaving off with your feet. Spend a minute or so on each area. Slowly open your eyes when complete.
5. Focus on your mantra. Before you get started choose 2 or 3 mantras (“I am ______________”) to focus on in your session. You might want to choose something like “I am successful in the work that I do today” or “I am productive in the tasks on my to-do list”. Similar to focusing on a positive word, repeat these mantras in your head a few times, pausing for a second in between each one.
Get creative and focus on different things. The methods mentioned in this blog are just to show you what meditating is all about. You can keep the same basic structure but choose to focus on just about anything you want. For example, you might want to focus on joy. Think about what brings joy into your life. Then shift your focus to seeing a loved one in a state of happiness. Then think of someone you feel indifferent about filled with joy and finally someone who you don’t get along with. You can do the same thing with gratitude or anything else in your life you’d like to improve upon.
Use headphones to block out any office noise.
Temporarily turn off your phone and email alerts to prevent distraction. Your sessions can be as little as 5 minutes long so you should be able to shut down your work for that amount of time.
Use an app to guide you. These will talk you through the whole process, reminding you to focus on your breathing and to come back when your mind wanders.
Don’t expect to be a pro at meditating overnight. We recommend practicing every single day and with time, you’ll get better at it. Remember that it’s ok for your mind to wander, just bring it back to focus when you realize it happening. Start simple with just 5 minute sessions a day and you can always work your way up into longer sessions. Give it a try for about a week and we bet you’ll be feeling more positive, energetic, productive, and happier in life.
Do you meditate? Let us know how its changed your life in the comments below!