Meditation and the workplace

Happy Holiday Season!

The joy of celebrating the end of the year brings more of everything; more food, more drink, more social gatherings and more work to make sure things are ready for the start of the new year. Over the last month we have pushed ourselves to be a better version of ourselves by accepting more work or more social invitations than we would really have liked. This time of year makes me think about my blessings and how grateful I am for the year I have lived but it also leaves me feeling exhausted. I’m not usually one for keeping New Year’s resolutions as they often involve chocolate and I’m lucky if they last for as long as it takes me to write it down. However, this year I am thinking about what I can do to have a healthier body and a healthier mind. Something that doesn’t mean I have to give up on dessert. I’m thinking I need to find some time for meditation.

Meditation, sometimes just the word triggers a fear response, or conjures images of someone sitting cross legged chanting “OM” and we think that it won’t be for us or that we don’t fit the image of someone who meditates.

Thankfully, Meditation is for anyone. You don’t have to wear special clothes, sit a special way or chant special words. You can sit at your desk at work and take a minute to concentrate on your breathing and that is meditation.

Meditation can be viewed as an opportunity to become aware of how we are feeling mentally and physically. It is taking the time to sit and view what is going on in our thoughts and what we are feeling in our bodies. Through the process of paying attention to our body and mind we become more aware or “mindful’ of what is going on with us.

Jon Kabat-Zinn; a professor of behavioural medicine, describes the process of mindfulness as a process of ‘paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally’

I like the idea of not judging myself.

Taking a minute to focus on my breathing and observing my thoughts or feelings without judgement means that instead of paying attention to thoughts such as; “What are you doing this for?” “You’re never going to be able to relax” “You’re wasting your time on this.” I can think; ‘Well that’s interesting, but instead of telling myself that I’m hopeless and stopping the meditation or not starting at all because I believed those thoughts, I’m going to choose to be less critical of myself and say you did a good thing for yourself today. Even if it was just one minute to focus on breathing in and out. That to me is a great start.

Happy Holiday Season and cheers to being kinder to ourselves and taking some time out from the crazy parts of our day to just sit and breathe.

Andrea Coombes
(Client Engagement Consultant)

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