a cup of coffee sitting next to a laptop computer.

How to Meditate at Work: Tips to Launch an Office Meditation Practice

Amber Murphy

Meditation can help anyone find a moment of calm and balance during a hectic day. The ongoing uncertainty and turmoil of 2020 mean that regular meditation is essential. It is more important than ever for anyone trying to get back to a routine. That is where we need to emphasize the word normal. This isn’t about creating some extraordinary meditation garden at home or booking a place at a retreat. Instead, it is about finding a moment in our day to stop, rest, enjoy some meditation practice, and then continue our day renewed. Learning how to meditate at work is one of the best ways to deal with stress at work and put yourself into a productive headspace.

How to meditate at work

This may sound easier said than done. How can you possibly find a calm space in your work environment, especially when you have so much to do? How can you switch off from your world with so many distractions? How do you even tell your boss that you need time to do this?

The good news is that meditation at work is a lot more simplistic and manageable than you might think. You can look for a calm space to use if one is available. But, there are also methods where you can meditate at your desk. You don’t have to completely break away from the world in front of you if it’s too busy. Instead, you can work on your focus and breathing for other benefits. You don’t have to tell anyone what you are doing, depending on where, when, and how you meditate at work. However, it might be a good idea to discuss the concept with superiors.

In this guide, you will learn a little more about these ideas. From there, hopefully, you will find inspiration to start your meditation practice at work. You may need to start small, but you could end up developing some ideas. Let’s begin with finding the perfect space.

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Do you have an appropriate outdoor space at work in which to meditate?

Empty meeting room in an office

An outdoor space is a perfect place to spend a little time meditating, even for 10 minutes. The dramatic change in the scene helps you to disconnect from the constricting feelings of the office. You have physically removed yourself to see in the fresh air. Breathe that air into your lungs deeply for 7 seconds, hold it for 4, exhale for 8. Repeat this and start to concentrate on your senses. What can you smell? Are there flowers nearby? Taste the tea or water you brought with you. Feel your weight on the seat. Listen to any sounds of nature.

Can you meditate in your break room or other spare room?

If an outdoor space isn’t practical, consider heading to a break room or an unused conference room for those 10 minutes. It might not be the same change of scene, but it is a chance to step away from the desk and all the messages and deadlines. You can try the same breathing and mindfulness exercises here as you sit in one of the chairs. You might even want to bring a cushion to work with you so you can sit on the floor and improve your posture.

Another creative and quiet space is in your car. If you drive to work and park close enough to the office, you can take a short break or go to your car at lunch to meditate in a quiet and private space.

The key to successful mediation here isn’t to actively try and clear your mind. This only leads to frustration when you can’t do it. Instead, find something to focus on. It could be the rhythmic ticking of a clock, the hum of an AC unit, or your breath. Concentrate on that and let yourself drift back to it if you end up caught up in other thoughts. Don’t beat yourself up if you get distracted. You can’t fail at mediation. You can only have the session that is right for you in your current headspace.

Can you meditate effectively at your desk?

Man sitting at his desk, working in an office

If you struggle to find anywhere suitable to be alone to meditate at work, you might need to find a way to do this at your desk. This might not be too hard if you are in a more traditional cubicle without other people staring at you. Take a moment to minimize all of the applications on your screen. Sit up straight in your chair, let your muscles loosen, and begin that breathing pattern. If you can close your eyes, then that’s great. But, it might not be practical. Try and find what works for you and commit to doing this every afternoon. Practice makes perfect when learning how to meditate at work.

How can you maintain focus and breathing when you can’t close your eyes?

If you don’t feel comfortable closing your eyes at your desk for 10 minutes, then that is perfectly understandable. You don’t want colleagues interrupting to ask what you are doing. You also don’t want supervisors thinking you are asleep. Keeping your eyes open doesn’t give the game away hat you are meditating. So, put the emails and documents away for a moment. Instead, focus on your screensaver, or the “black mirror” of your monitor. This is a nice blank space that may help you get into the right mindset. Other screensavers might help, too, like a flickering candle or watching a ball bouncing from side to side.

Do you have a preferred app or audio guide to help you?

One of the most significant issues with meditating at a desk is distractions from other people. You might have one colleague to the left of you continually chatting on the phone. To your right, someone that plays too many viral videos on social media breaks. Then there are the printers, copiers, and general office buzz. The solution could be choosing from the best meditation apps, and putting in some earbuds. Guided meditations are an excellent tool for those new to meditation that struggle to find their rhythm. You may also like to listen to positive affirmations during these sessions, especially during difficult days.

We recommend trying our app, Declutter The Mind. It contains everything from a guided meditation for focus to guided meditation for anxiety. Whatever you need to help you be more productive at work, our app has it.

Is it possible to meditate at work in secret?

As you can see, meditating in secret in the office is possible, but not always easy. You could set up an excellent little system with your earbuds at the desk where nobody knows what you are doing. It might be a little bit harder to sneak off to the break room or outdoor space each day. There is a bigger question here. Why do you want to keep this a secret? Are you worried that other people will make fun, deliberately make things difficult, and then ruin your experience? Or, are you concerned that they will insist on joining in when you are adamant about doing this alone?

Could you form a meditation club with other colleagues?

Don’t be afraid to talk to your co-workers about meditation breaks if you are happy to have the company. You might be surprised at how many carry out the practice at home or are interested to learn more. Be aware that some may agree purely as a way to stop working. But, other like-minded individuals could help you create a more beneficial ritual in the office. You may also be able to start talking about why you feel the need to meditate at work. This could help raise awareness of mental health issues or problems in your workspace.

Should you tell your boss about your need for meditation breaks?

An empty conference room with the words "Do Good Things" written on the wall

This idea about being open and honest about mental health and meditation at work could extend to your boss as well. It is a good idea to tell them precisely what you are doing and why. This creates some transparency where you can then go and meditate without worrying about getting caught. It also starts a conversation about mental health that may be overdue. Your superiors may not be aware of some of the stresses and strains of your role. This conversation could then spark an acceptance of your practice and some commitment to help make things easier. They may want to learn how to meditate at work too.

Could your boss help you set up a dedicated meditation space in the workplace?

That commitment to making things easier for colleagues might also mean the creation of a dedicated meditation room. If your boss understands and is willing to make adaptations, you could end up with a great place to unwind. It might just be a secluded corner of the office, but it is better than sitting in a stairwell to get some peace. With time, meditation and self-care breaks could become common and essential as coffee breaks in your workplace.

Some companies even offer their employees access to meditation apps and content as a benefit. Declutter The Mind offers corporate meditation subscriptions to companies to provide their employees and teams with access to Declutter The Mind for free.

Find the right office meditation method that works for you.

Find the right desk meditation. Learning how to meditate at work doesn’t have to be complicated. While the ideal approach to mediation at work would be to find a quiet room somewhere and complete disconnect for 20 minutes, this isn’t always practical. That is why it is essential to have different ideas to take time out in various ways as needed. If you want to make this your thing, then that’s fine. But, there is no harm in talking to colleagues and bosses about this, especially from a mental health standpoint. You never know, you may kickstart a motion that gives your workplace somewhere beautiful and peaceful for daily practice.

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