By: Samantha Squire, Yoga Teacher and Meditation Instructor
Yoga teacher and meditation instructor Samantha Squire explains how meditation can benefit your work. Plus a 5-minute step-by-step mindfulness meditation to try on your own.
Yoga and meditation are becoming more and more popular in the workplace. Is it just a trend? Or is there some real benefit to employees and companies?
Here are three reasons why I think you should start implementing meditation in the workplace today:
Increased energy levels and productivity
Mental fatigue is related to stress and repetitive thinking. When you’re at work, your mind is constantly working, strategizing, and solving problems. It probably doesn’t take a full 8-hour day for your mind to get tired. When you take even a few minutes a day to meditate, you give your mind a break from the constant internal conversation that’s happening. This will help increase your energy levels and you’ll be more productive.
Improved focus concentration
When you do a mindfulness meditation you are literally training your mind to pay attention to the present moment. Whether you’re focusing on your breath, sensations happening inside your body, or even sounds around you, you are training yourself to focus and concentrate on what’s happening right now. The more you practice, the better your focus and concentration will become at work and in your everyday life.
Better work relationships
One of the amazing benefits of meditation is a better understanding of emotional intelligence. If you practice meditation regularly, even a couple minutes a day, you can improve your ability to regulate your emotions and learn the importance of patience. In turn, you will have better relationships with the people around you.
Types of Meditation
There are two different types of meditation, seeded and unseeded.
When a meditation practice is seeded it means you are focusing your awareness on something, like your body your breath, or sounds. When a meditation practice is unseeded it means you aren’t focusing your awareness on anything.
For my clients, I usually recommend a seeded meditation, like a mindfulness meditation because it’s great for beginners.
Now that you know the types of meditation and some great benefits of it, I’ll share one of my favourite five-minute mindfulness practices that’s easy enough to do at work.
Step 1 – Find a comfortable space where you can sit up or lie down without being disturbed for about 5 minutes.
Step 2 – Close your eyes and start to relax all the muscles in your face. Then slowly make your way from your face down to your feet as you scan your body relaxing each part on the way. Take your time.
Step 3 – Now focus your awareness on your breath. Observe the natural rhythm as it flows into and out of the body.
Step 4 – Count your breath. Start at 10 and make your way down to zero. If you lose count, go back to 10 and start again. You are training the mind and helping improve your concentration and attention span. As you count the breath, work with the intention that every exhale you are becoming more and more relaxed. Imagine that every exhale you take is an opportunity to let go of anything that is no longer serving you.
Step 5 – As long as you took your time with the body scan, you’ll probably be at about 5 minutes once you’re done counting your breath. If you choose to stay in meditation longer, continue to observe your breath.
Step 6 – When you’re ready to come out of the meditation, gently wiggle your toes and fingers to bring that heightened awareness back into the body.
Even a short and simple daily meditation practice can reduce stress and anxiety, help clear the mind, and increase energy levels. Something as simple as counting your breath mindfully can have a great impact on your life and reduce stress at work. Give it try and see for yourself!
National Leasing takes wellness to the next level
To celebrate Mental Health Awareness month last May, National Leasing unveiled a new Zen Zone complete with eye pillows, nebulizers and essential oils, bolsters, blankets and calming music. I had the opportunity to guide some employees through a private meditation session and can attest to the benefits of having a quiet space to escape to, separate from their open-concept office. If you have the resources to create a space of your own, go for it! If not, many yoga teachers can come into your office and create a temporary space over the lunch hour for employees to benefit from meditation.