16 Desk Meditations That Will Change Your Life


OK. Maybe “change your life” is a bit of a hyperbole, but meditation’s myriad forms still hold quite a few benefits for employees holed up at desks and inside cubicles all day. Benefits confirmed by reputable scientists, no less. Sitting all day leads to mental and physical health issues, but trying some of the following tactics might very well help chip away at them over time. We’re not doctors, though, so don’t take our advice as if we were!

  1. Zen:

    Emory University’s Charles Raison outlines a five-minute technique for calming down and clearing up the mind while working. Just set a timer, assume the position, and start breathing. He notes that the background noise in office settings might distract at first but can be incorporated into an exercise over time.

  2. Guided Meditation:

    It only takes a minute to mentally retreat into a “happy place” (here, a “warm, sunny meadow”) and soothe a (not seriously) troubled attitude. Try Susan Helene Kramer’s recommended positioning and breathing mechanisms when things get a little stressful at work. It may not necessarily lead to transcendent insights into the intimate workings of the universe, but it sure might alleviate some of the strain from those TPS reports.

  3. Rock garden:

    Buy or assemble a small rock and sand garden inspired by traditional Buddhist constructs used in Zen meditation. Not only will it make for a unique decoration, but offer up an anytime (or, anytime at the desk, anyways) opportunity to get contemplative while working out a difficult project or succumbing to stressors. Rock garden users can build their own personalized meditative practices around them, or check online for tips from other enthusiasts.

  4. Walk:

    OK, this suggestion is kind of cheating a little since it’s not technically at the desk, but whatever. It still works. Rather than taking a cue from spirituality, simply getting up and walking might provide a meditative moment in times of conflict. Use the time away from what’s causing the problem to chip away at negativity and formulate more viable solutions for peace and calm, both internal and external.

  5. Yoga:

    Great for the body — and mind, when paired with a meditative ritual. Yoga exercises, like the ones listed here tailored specifically for desk dwellers, stretch out muscles atrophying from too much sitting and provide an opportunity to defog the brainmeat during rough patches. Pick a few and start moving to see if it makes any positive difference.

  6. Eat:

    Employees lucky enough to be allowed to eat at their desks might want to clear some space and take advantage of the free time to meditate. After all, the art of mastication is a satisfying art indeed, so it makes sense that it would work wonders for the harried mind in need of a break from work. Focus on something simple and try “waking up to whatever’s happening right now,” as Jay Michaelson describes the experience.

  7. Audio guidance:

    Whip out a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and try some of these guided meditation recordings, including offerings by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh. Oprah.com posts several different selections to peruse, so hopefully some of the ones included here work wonders. If not, Google is a thing that exists, and plenty of free guided meditation audio and podcasts are available online. Or one could head to the store and check for CDs, too.

  8. Pray:

    More religious types might prefer prayer as a form of meditation during the rough work day, which can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Keep a reminder of a favorite verse, adage, or passage — or even a copy of a favorite religious text – on hand for reference and inspiration whenever it’s needed. No matter one’s temporal needs, chances are a tiny amount of time set aside to reflect on faith will help more than not bothering at all.

  9. Just breathe:

    Take inspiration from Drew Barrymore in Ever After and … just breathe (Hey! That’s the name of the entry!). Seeing as how it forms an integral component of meditation, paying mind to inhaling and exhaling could provide an easy, quick strategy for staying calm throughout the work day. Experiment with a few different methods and see which one proves most satisfying when navigating the daily migraines of office life.

  10. Sitting comfy:

    Try sitting on a pillow on the floor (if the company allows) and get cozy with it before launching a brief meditation session at the desk. More self-conscious individuals might want to just arrange it on their chairs instead. Either way, opting for this might not necessarily directly lead to any sort of calm or enlightenment, but it definitely can’t hurt when trying to attain it during the work day.

  11. Transcendental meditation:

    Creative Renaissance man David Lynch attributes his successes to transcendental meditation, which might very well work for the office dwellers of the world as well. While it requires a little more effort than some of the strategies listed here, some might want to explore this trendy practice’s tenets without leaving their desks. Considering one of its main thrusts involves dissolving stress levels, it might prove a tactic worthy of experimentation for practitioners in more anxiety-ridden fields.

  12. Progressive muscle relaxation:

    Psychology professionals sometimes prescribe this calming technique to their depressed and anxious patients, and it dovetails lovely with meditation practices. Which makes sense, seeing as how breathing also just happens to ensure proper muscle relaxation. Try pairing it with Zen, transcendental, or other techniques for overarching mind and body calm.

  13. Aromatherapy:

    It’s kind of a bad idea to light a candle or start smearing essential oils around at the office, but aromatherapy might prove a viable option for the work-from-home crowd. Pick a particularly soothing scent and get transported to a mental plane beyond daily drudgery. Or at least smell nice. Smelling nice is always pretty good.

  14. Mantras:

    Mantras run the gamut from a single word to a beloved hymn, and concentrating on them during the day could very well prove exactly what the stressed-out corporate drone needs to succeed. Try different ones at home and at work to see which — if any, of course — prove the snuggest fit. Some might induce meditation in certain situations better than others, so it’s probably a good idea to keep a few different ones in mind.

  15. Music:

    The right tunes at the right time are all it takes for some people to sink into a meditative state of comfort and calm. Some Internet radio stations, apps, and podcast hosts feature free streaming music specifically for inducing relaxation, but obviously desk jockeys may pick whatever they want. Getting lost in a favorite jam stands as a near-universal experience and a very simple strategy for decompressing during a long day.

  16. THIS:

    Nothing else is a more effective technique for attaining oneness with the universe beyond mortal perception. Don’t argue. It’s science.

Posted on 11/05/12 | by Staff Writers | in Career | No Comments »

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