6 Simple Meditation Tips that Might Just Save Your Job
Many of us have many great intentions to meditate regularly, but we regularly find many great reasons why we cannot to do it–we’re tired, we haven’t had our coffee, we’re expecting a call. The biggest reason, of course, is there simply is not enough time. There are a million important things to do and sitting and doing nothing is not one of those things. We’ll intend to meditate tomorrow.
An article by Peter Bregman in the Harvard Business Review suggests that meditating and doing nothing might, paradoxically, be the best tool for getting stuff done.
Externally, meditation looks quite peaceful; we sit nice and still and quiet. Internally, however, meditation can be a mental war-zone: We are besieged by thoughts and impulses to do everything but sit still.
It is in the resistance to act on those thoughts and impulses where focus is forged. That focus can be applied throughout our day, whether that means resisting a trip to the kitchen, not checking your email every five seconds or foregoing that half-hour kitten video-watching spree.
Think about your day. How much would you get done without distraction? How much shorter could your day be if not protracted by distraction? If you believed you could get more done or that you could cut an hour or two off your day, wouldn’t you sit still for 20 minutes in the morning?
Editing your life is not just about editing possessions that don’t support your happiness, it’s about editing behavior that doesn’t support your happiness. And few things sharpen your behavior-editing skills as meditation.
Now that you know your livelihood depends on doing nothing, here are a few suggestions as to where to start:
- Meditate first thing in morning. Meditation is like airplane departures: The later the day gets, the less likely it is to happen. Do it first. Think of it as your mental shower.
- Don’t skip days. Excuses and reasons tend to have puppies when you skip days.
- Focus on your breath. While there are mantra-based meditations, counting meditations and Buddhist meditations on death and precious human life, paying attention to your breath is by far the easiest entry point for meditation (you can always make meditation more complicated later). If you find yourself lost in distraction, just return to your breath; it’s always there. If your breath is not there, do not continue to meditate. Call 911.
- Relax your body. Scan your body starting at the crown of your head, going through each and every part of your body down to the tips of your toenails. Bring attention to every inch of your body, breathe into them and let the breath open and relax them.
- Sit up straight. This author uses a zafu and zabuton and would highly recommend these meditation cushions, but not everyone has the back or knees to sit cross-legged. An upright chair works fine. Focus on your spine being straight. It makes a difference.
- Start where you’re at. Bregman sits for 20 minutes, but perhaps that’s too much. Oftentimes, I can only eek out 5 minutes. It’s at least 5 minutes better than nothing. I set a timer on my phone with a gentle ringtone to get me out of meditation.
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