4 Easy Mindfulness Exercises You Can Do in Your Office
Today's professionals are constantly bombarded with tasks that leave them feeling stressed, anxious and high-strung. Studies suggest that mindfulness can help with this; however, most of us are too busy to sit down for a 30 minute session of mediation. Here are four quick and easy mindfulness exercises you can do at your desk to achieve a positive mind-body balance.
Mindful Breathing: Begin by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly, with each breath cycle lasting about six seconds. Let go of your responsibilities, but don't try to clear your mind. Instead, allow thoughts to rise and fall without attaching meaning. Purposefully focus on your breath, becoming aware of where you feel the air best, whether it’s in the nostrils, lungs or mouth. Tip: Many people find it easier to detach from stressful thoughts by regarding each one as a cloud temporarily passing over the sky.
Mindful Observation: Select an object in your office and watch it for two minutes. This could be a pen, flower or something outside your window. Study this object as if you are seeing it for the first time. Give the practice your full attention, as you visually explore every aspect of the object. Consider its purpose, its origins and its appearance, as you allow yourself to become consumed for a brief moment. Tip: Try to genuinely consider the object, instead of "zoning out" during the practice.
Mindful Listening: Tune the radio or Pandora to a random station. Put on your headphones and close your eyes. Focus on the music, allowing it to pull you in. Try not to judge the music based on the genre, artists or title. Instead, do your best to ignore labels, allowing yourself to lose yourself in the journey of sound. Consider the dynamics of every instrument, the vocals and the pacing, as you listen intently without preconceptions or judgments. Tip: Do your best to separate your physical senses from judgments, even if the music wouldn't normally be to your liking.
Mindful Appreciation: A number of studies have shown that mindfulness offers an amazing variety of neurological benefits. At the same time, research has shown that people experience less stress and improved moods when they mindfully take the time to be grateful. It's easy to reap the benefits of mindful gratitude: Make a list of five things that make you grateful; or simply ponder the incredible benefits of simple things, such has having good food, electricity and transportation. You can also take a few moments to send a letter or email to someone in your present or past, telling them that you appreciate something they have done or continue to do.
Committing to the Process
Mindful exercises work best when they center on sensation, instead of preconceptions or judgments. If you enter any mindfulness activity with a closed mind, you will exit without any benefit. By forcing the brain to focus on sight, touch, scent, taste or sound, you can interrupt the cycle of stress and anxiety. Like anything else, the mindfulness take practice. To achieve optimal benefits, approach each exercise just as you would any other goal, with patience, dedication, focus and a positive attitude.
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