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Meditation and mindfulness practices you can do at work

Not only can meditation help you decrease work-related stress, it can make you work smarter, better and faster.

"Many of the world's most successful business people practice meditation," says Angela Buttimer, MS, NCC, RYT, LPC, a licensed psychotherapist at Cancer Wellness.

Studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness practices improve career-boosting characteristics like:

  • Authenticity
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Focus
  • Innovation
  • Productivity

"When we work with corporate clients, we notice many teams have dysfunctional communication patterns," she says. "After working with these clients for a few months, we observe that employees begin to help each other practice mindfulness. It actually changes the corporate culture when everyone practices together."

She adds, "Leaders and employees are calmer, respond more skillfully to stressful situations and are better communicators."

How to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into the workday

  • Practice meditation first thing in the morning. Just five to 20 minutes each morning at home can set you up for a successful workday.  
  • Schedule mindfulness. Set alerts on your online calendar to remind you to practice sacred pauses. When you eat lunch or a snack, use it as a mini-break to practice mindful eating.
  • Get focused. Minimize unnecessary workday distractions, like email and social media, so you can knock out truly important projects. "When you are interrupted by notifications, it can take 20 minutes to get refocused on a task," says Buttimer. "It is impossible for the brain to multitask. Instead, it is toggling from activity to activity, which makes you less efficient."
  • Block out chunks of time to check email. You career won’t falter if you don’t check your email every five minutes. Set aside say, three or four times per day to check and respond to emails. Then, use your other blocks of time to complete your other to-dos.  
  • Take a breather. Deep breathing is a simple, effective way to bust stress. "We find people aren't breathing well during the day," she says. "They may be really focused on a goal and are taking shallow breaths, which creates a stress response in the body."
  • Prioritize. "It's really important to prioritize your daily tasks because you can get pulled in 20 different directions each day," she explains. "You have to say no to something. Mindfulness can help with prioritization."
  • Put it in perspective. Unless you are a surgeon or first responder, most of your work crises are not true emergencies — and they are not worth creating a potentially harmful stress response in your body. "People may think their project is the most urgent thing on your to-do list," says Buttimer. "But the world isn't going to fall apart if you have other priorities and don't respond right away."

Check here for more ways to unwind, de-stress and relax.

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