In the Western society, it is not common to associate work hours with a time that we could use for ourselves. Work is work, and we are expected not to think or do anything else, except maybe during coffee and lunch, which we generously spend on our cell phone. However, research shows that practicing meditation at work and mindfulness throughout the day makes a significant impact on our mental and physical health. Scientists recommend practicing at least 10-15 min a day, any time of the day. So naturally, we think that this activity has to be before or after work, as we never have time for ourselves during the work hours. In fact, that’s where we need it the most. Here are six reasons why it’s best to meditate and do mindful exercises during the work time.
1. Create a positive association.
Most people view work as the place the “have to” go, an obligation, duty, a way to pay the bills. This mentality is negative at its core and you can be sure your body and mind catch the vibe every morning. That is when we can’t start working without a cup of coffee and have a hard time smiling when we enter the office. Practicing mindfulness and meditation at work will give your day a positive spin, something to look forward to during the 8-10 hours. Allowing yourself to meditate or do some breathing exercises during the office hours may seem like an out-of-the-box suggestion. However, if you integrate mindfulness training into your work schedule, with time, your brain will create the positive connotation with everything you do in the office. Research shows that doing a relaxing exercise, like meditation for 15 min outweighs the stress accumulated over several hours.
2. Improve Clarity & Focus => Productivity
Our mind is naturally scattered and wired to think about anything and everything that comes to our senses. While doing so, it scans the external environment for potential danger. Although it was a life-saving defense mechanism during the cave times, now it creates mental chatter that jeopardizes our focus, clarity and as a result – productivity. Have you ever found yourself worrying about so many things at once that nothing gets done at all? Meditation is about training your brain to focus and reduce attention to one point of concentration, which at the same time quiets the nervous system and reduces the noise inside our brain. As a result, we naturally feel more clear and focused and can complete work faster and better.
3. Enhance Creativity
Have you ever noticed how on vacation the colors look brighter, the sky and the water are extra blue, and the food tastes better? It’s because we are simply more aware, relaxed and receptive. Meditation and mindfulness increase our awareness to the world around us. Usually, in our mind, we either regret what happened in the past or worry about the future, which is also called stress. In both ways we are not entirely receptive to the environment and finding a creative solution is difficult. With meditation and focusing our mind on a single point, we relax and allow our subconsciousness to open our horizons and see multiple perspectives in the present moment. Creative solutions start naturally flowing in most unexpected ways when you most need it – at work.
4. Relieve stress and boost your immune system
Our nervous system consists of two functional parts. One is responsible for protecting our being from immediate dangers of the external environment, like lions and bears attacks. Once the danger has passed, the second part is responsible for calming our brain and body down, going back to the natural, relaxed state. However, modern stress is not like a wild animal, which should pass fast. Stressors at work, like deadlines, clients meetings, pressure for results, operational failures, constantly keep our nervous system in “fight or flight” mode, tense and wired. Unless we find time to relax at work, stress piles up, affecting our body and mind over long periods of time, often days and weeks. As a result, our defensive mechanisms are always alert, while relaxation responses do not work as well. Meditation at work helps our mind and body to relax and stimulates the stress-relief function of our nervous system. When we operate in a relaxed mode, we spend less energy on the defense mechanism and have more energy to fight viruses and bacteria that attack our body. In other words, our immune system has more fuel to protect our body better, so we don’t get exhausted and sick.
5. Improve Work Relationships
We spend most of our productive time at work, and we train ourselves to “act” in a friendly way, helpful and happy, even we feel stressed and overwhelmed. Acting takes much energy, and usually, people can subconsciously feel when we are not real. Research has shown that meditation enhances self-awareness, sympathy and emotional intelligence. In a work environment, it translates into better relationships with your colleagues, bosses, and clients. Allowing yourself to relax and let go during the work hours, will help you to be more natural and patient with everyone around you and yourself. Our body language gives away what is going on inside us. If you can fake it well, chances are you are a professional actor and earn millions of dollars. For regular folks, practicing meditation at work will bring balance and self-confidence. People around you will feel it and naturally get attracted to your great vibes.
6. Enjoy quality time at home
We tend to go, go, go at work, so we can then relax at home or during the weekend. However, stress is not like laundry that you can pile up and then deal with all at once. It compounds over time. Not allowing our brain or body to relax on a regular basis turns into an explosion of frustration, sickness and being burnt out. When we finally reach home, we cannot rest either as our body and mind are so wired that now we just collapse or take the anger out on our loved one’s, some reach for the alcohol. Meditation and mindful exercises during work take just a few minutes throughout the day. It only requires consistency and discipline. Create a habit, and as a reward, you will find it easier and faster to relax at home and enjoy more quality time with family and friends.