Stress is an unavoidable side effect of working hard and trying to climb the career ladder. But that doesn’t mean you have to struggle with the constant anxiety of deadlines, presentations, and meetings. All it takes is a little meditation to turn that anxiety into a ball of dust. Meditation is a simple way to soothe your worries without leaving the office or spending money.
Here are eight ways to meditate during your stressful day.
Take deep breaths
Did you just get a scathing email about a deadline you missed? Are you feeling that tightness in your gut and your pulse starting to race with anxiety? Immediately sit up straight, close your eyes and place a hand on your stomach. For five minutes, slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Feel the breath rise in your abdomen and make its way to your head. This exercise will slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and reduce your stress levels instantly.
Focus on your body
This tip is a great way to really get in tune with your body and discover how stress truly affects you. Many of us don’t realize the large impact stress has on us physically. Lie on your back or sit with your feet on the floor, close your eyes, and focus on each part of your body one at a time. Start at your toes and move all the way to your scalp, focusing on how every inch of your body feels. You’ll probably find tension in areas you didn’t even know could hold stress.
Create a mantra
Have a simple but impactful mantra. It can be anything—religious, secular or created by you—as long as it’s something that soothes and calms you. It could be the name of your mother, your high school mascot, a short quote you find meaningful, whatever. Repeat your mantra in your head during times of stress, or out loud if you’re alone in your office. You’d be surprised how much it helps.
Slow down and be present
Find a quiet space to be present and focused. Think about what your feet feel like against the ground, how the cold air conditioner feels on your skin, or what a wall feels like as you lean up against it. This focus on your senses and the present moment makes you less tense and more aware of your physical being. It pulls your anxious mind from future worries or past mistakes and allows you to center yourself.
Chat with someone who makes you smile or find something amusing to watch for a few minutes. Share a funny story with a co-worker. Watch some stand-up comedy on YouTube for a couple seconds. A good chuckle lightens mental stress and boosts endorphins. There are even comedy playlists on streaming services like Spotify and Pandora that you can listen to while working, which can keep the mood light and a smile on your face.
Create a stress-free playlist
Speaking of playlists, research has shown that listening to music can lower heart rate, blood pressure and stress. Whether you enjoy soothing nature sounds or rocking out to the latest hits, curate some playlists that you enjoy and lift your mood. I’m listening to one of my favorite Spotify stations while I type this. It works, I promise.
Move your body
Getting up from your desk and out for a walk is a simple way to release feel-good chemicals into your body and ease anxiety. If you don’t want to go outside, you can do some simple stretching from your desk or even walk up and down a set of stairs. Or take a stroll around the office, grab some snacks from the breakroom, and find a window with a nice view. Breaks are always good for the soul.
Read a passage from your favorite book, listen to music, or write in a journal. These are just a few good ways to stop, focus and reflect. The important thing is that you take the time to be present, to focus on something meaningful and to find gratitude for that one moment. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of work, but remember, it’s YOUR life and the less stressed you are, the happier you’ll be.