If meditation sounds like something “other people” do, or your meditation experience is limited to longer, set-aside periods or classes, chances are you’re missing out on the full benefits and adaptability that mindfulness can bring. Although 48% of Americans say stress has a detrimental effect on their personal and professional lives, one in five admit to never doing anything to counter that stress. However, short and simple meditation-based activities can help reduce cortisol levels and depression symptoms, and bring us into greater harmony with our surroundings. And it only takes a few minutes a day.
Breathing is the base of many mindfulness activities, including more familiar forms of meditation, yoga and Pilates. There is no need to even get up from your desk, though, to quickly feel the benefits of focused breathing: Every ninety minutes or so, close your eyes for sixty seconds and concentrate on inhaling and exhaling slowly. Set regular reminders on your phone to boost your commitment.
Of course, getting up from your desk is never a bad idea, so next time you walk to the water cooler, try drinking mindfully: Spend two minutes with your glass, observe how the water looks and really notice how it feels in your mouth and throat. Water is necessary for us to perform our best, and using mindful drinking as an excuse to mentally step away from our troubles is an excellent meditative technique.
If you want to take your newfound mindfulness to a new level, consider keeping a happiness diary. It might sound cheesy, but just taking the time to notice when you feel joy and to jot down a line or two about it can help keep things in perspective. Reports show this technique can increase feelings of satisfaction.
For these and other techniques you can sneak in while at work, check out this new infographic, and then try incorporating one or more of the techniques into your daily routine and take note of the difference it makes within weeks.