How to Meditate at Your Desk
Busy days at the office can leave us feeling mentally exhausted. Countless hours sitting at our desks, hunched over a computer, firing off emails, fielding calls, and giving our attention to the tasks at hand can drain our batteries — even if we enjoy the work we do. When our reserves are low, it can sometimes be difficult to stay focused and productive.
With that in mind, it’s important to take breaks throughout the day (and, just for the record, scrolling through social media doesn’t count). If you don’t have time for a walk, maybe do some stretching exercises in your chair to release any tension. But nothing presses our internal reset and refresh button better than meditation, which is a great way to reduce both physical and mental stress. Practicing meditation exercises at your desk can help you reclaim focus, calm, and clarity — anytime from morning till night.
Meditation is actually a desk-friendly exercise. No exertion required. All you have to do is find some peace and quiet, and sit with the mind for a few minutes. Many teachers, including Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe, believe sitting upright is actually the optimal position for meditation, as it allows us to find that sweet spot between focus and relaxation. Also practicing mindfulness in the same place — and at the same time, if possible — are keys to making your mindfulness habit stick.
Here’s a simple meditation you can do at your desk anytime you need to reset and feel a little more present and calmer, as you move on with your day. Choose a 3-, 5-, or 10-minute option. Take a break and enjoy the feeling of having nothing to do for a few minutes.
You know those days when your brain refuses to take in one more piece of information, no matter how much you beg? Try this 3-minute guided meditation at your desk if you’re feeling overwhelmed, to help all that thinking, all those sensations and emotions, and the physical tension in your body melt away.
This mindfulness exercise uses a technique called visualization, where you’ll picture a steady stream of warm sunshine flowing down through your head into the body, dissolving away discomfort, leaving you feeling a little more relaxed and at ease.
Maybe a colleague gets the promotion you’ve been seeking, or a coworker dumps a half-finished project on your desk, or maybe the boss has been particularly irritable all day. The workplace can produce its fair share of frustrations, but we can’t afford for feelings of irritability or anger to burn us up. So instead of fuming at your desk and holding on to these emotions, take five mindful minutes to ground yourself. When we become more present in the body, we can release these intense emotions. As a result, both the body and the mind feel calmer, and clearer.
This particular technique guides you toward releasing strong emotions by gently focusing on each outbreath.
When there’s a lot of internal chatter in our head, it’s hard to truly hear what someone is saying. Giving colleagues our full attention when they’re talking can help forge deeper, more meaningful connections. But to give such undivided attention means having to be fully present, and that’s where meditation comes in — it teaches us the ability to be fully engaged with the task or person commanding our attention, without distraction. If we can carve out a few minutes a day to meditate, we will become less distracted at work, and therefore, better listeners.
If you’re still unsure about when and how to meditate at work at your desk, take a mindfulness break during lunch. If you’re planning to eat at your desk, make the most of it! Rather than wolfing down your meal, rushing to the next mouthful, take a minute to appreciate each bite, and feel grateful for what’s on your plate. Check in with the different senses — the taste of the food, how it smells, the texture, etc. — to feel more present in the body and less caught up in the thoughts in the mind.
Whether you’re looking to relieve stress, manage anxiety, power up your productivity, or sharpen your focus, Headspace can help you function at your best wherever you work. One published study with Google and Roche employees showed that just 8 weeks of using Headspace reduced depression by 46% and anxiety by 31%.
Headspace subscribers will also have access to courses on encouraging creativity, learning how to prioritize (i.e., get clarity on what really matters to you), as well as boosting self-esteem. Or maybe you’re looking to sleep better — because who doesn’t feel happier, healthier, and in a better mood when they’re well rested?! Sign up for Headspace Plus and explore the entire Sleep by Headspace library of courses, soothing sleepcasts, dreamy sleep music, wind downs, and more.
Let Headspace help you feel more positive, and happier! Get started now, and make mindfulness part of your everyday.
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