March 20, 2017
75 Quick and Dirty Mindfulness Techniques for Your Workday
BY Caitlin Delohery IN Mindfulness 0 Comment
Think you don’t have time for mindfulness? Think again. Here are 75 easy techniques that you can do before, during, and after your busy work day.
- When you first wake up, notice now your body feels.
- Stretch and pay attention to how your body feels first thing in the morning.
- Journal for five minutes, making a list of three things you are grateful for from yesterday and three intentions you have for the coming day.
- As you brush your teeth, try and think of more things you’re grateful for.
- As you get ready for work, notice the sights, sounds, and smells of your morning.
- Notice how the shower temperature feels.
- Before you start eating breakfast, take a moment to consider the origins of the food you will eat. Pause in gratitude for the work that went into bringing the food to your table. For example, imagine the farmer who grew the wheat in your bread, the baker who baked it, and the delivery person who brought it to your grocer. Sit in gratitude for their service.
- While eating breakfast, notice the textures of your food and chew intentionally.
- When getting dressed, pay attention to how your fresh clothes feel against your skin.
- After you’ve gotten dressed, look in the mirror and set an intention for the day.
- Notice how you’re feeling as you prepare to get out the door. Rushed? Calm? Hesitant?
- On your commute, pay attention to your surroundings and see if you notice something new on this route.
- As you arrive at work, notice if how you feel changes. Pause before you enter your office or workspace. Notice and release any tension or anxiety.
Throughout your workday
- Breathe in for four counts, breathe out for four counts. Repeat.
- Feel your diaphragm expand as you breathe.
- Breathe in and out, repeating to yourself, “I am relaxed.”
- Breathe in through your nose. Notice the sensation in your nostrils.
- Try the 7/11 technique: breathe in for 7 counts and out for 11.
Body and sensation awareness
- Pay attention to the smell of your coffee.
- Feel your shoes on your feet on the floor.
- Take off your shoes and feel the sensation of your feet on the floor.
- Feel your shoulders and ribcage move with your breath.
- Close your eyes and feel yourself sitting in your chair.
- Do a full body scan, starting with your feet and moving up through your body. Notice any tension or pain. Do nothing but observe the sensations in your body.
- Stand up. Feel your body rising out of your seat.
- Raise your arms above your head. Feel the stretch in your shoulders.
- Sit at your desk and do some shoulder rolls to adjust your posture. Notice how much better your back feels from that adjustment.
- Make a fist with your hands for five seconds. Release and make your hands as wide as possible. Relax the hands and keep your attention on the sensation for as long as possible.
- Sit in your chair and imagine yourself melting into it. Sit with this sensation for a few moments.
- Press your thumbs to your middle fingers and take two breaths.
- When writing, notice the look and feel of the pen in your hands.
- Stop and listen for the ambient noise around you.
- Notice how you’re sitting in your chair. Adjust your posture.
- Look out the window. Examine the sights as though you’re seeing them for the first time.
- When washing your hands, notice the temperature of the water and the wet sensation on your skin.
- When listening to familiar music, listen more carefully to find new notes, lyrics, or instruments.
- Sit in your chair and just be for a minute.
- Begin counting from 1 to 10. If your mind wanders, begin back at 1 and start over until you make it to 10.
- Tend to zone out during certain tasks? Bring more awareness to them.
- Slowly and gently roll your neck and feel the stretch and the tension release.
- Leave your phone in the drawer and see how few times you can check it throughout the day.
- Get a stress ball or a worry stone and use it mindfully throughout your day.
- Set an alarm a few times throughout the day to remind you to stop what you’re doing, observe your thoughts, and check in with how your body is feeling.
- Select a mindfulness cue, such as the phone ringing, a computer alert, or every time you see yourself in the mirror. When this happens, bring your attention to the present moment and breathe in and out three times.
- Pick an object in the room and focus on it. Notice the shape, color, and all aspects of the item. See if there is anything about it that you haven’t noticed before.
- Find a space to sit in child’s pose for a count of 10 breaths.
- Place your hand over your heart and smile for a count of three breaths.
- Imagine a Stop sign when you become distracted or agitated: Stop what you’re doing. Take a few conscious breaths. Observe your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Proceed once you feel fully aware of your current state.
- Notice your energy levels throughout the day. Are they related to the time of day or a task you’re doing?
Gratitude and awareness of emotions
- Think of three to five underappreciated things or people you are grateful for. For example, heat and air conditioning, electricity, or the person who delivers your mail. Take a moment to appreciate them.
- Close your eyes and think of a loved one. Say in your mind, “May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you feel safe. May you live your life with ease.”
- Do this same exercise, but think of someone you have tension with.
- Close your eyes and say to yourself, “May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I feel safe. May I live my life with ease.”
- Sit and notice any negative emotion you’re feeling. Recognize that negative thoughts are just thoughts and release them with kindness.
- While sitting in your chair, close your eyes and smile. Notice if smiling to yourself affects your emotions or your physicality.
- If you’re feeling anxious, try this guided meditation.
During lunch and other breaks
- If you buy your lunch every day, check in with your body and ask yourself what you’re really hungry for.
- Eat lunch in a different spot today and notice the sights, smells, and sounds of this new place.
- At lunch, notice the smell, flavor, and texture of the first few bites of your meal.
- Slowly chew your food.
- Get a piece of chocolate and let it melt in your mouth. No biting or chewing!
- Practice one of the many raisin meditations. You may do this with any food.
- Take a walk outside. Feel the air on your skin. Notice the sensation in your feet and legs as you walk.
- Take an afternoon tea meditation break.
- Go outside to a peaceful spot and take three deep and mindful breaths.
- Listen carefully to others in meetings and in conversations.
- Consciously speak with kindness whenever giving feedback or responding to the ideas of others.
- Notice when you speak how many fillers (um, like, er, ya know, etc.) you use. Slow down and practice mindful speaking by avoiding these fillers when you can.
- As your day draws to a close, bring intention and mindfulness to your regular end-of-day wrap-up and closing time rituals. Are you usually tense? Calm? Stressed? Rushed?
- Take out your keys. Notice the teeth and shape of each key.
- Notice your keychains. Are they souvenirs from a vacation or related to a similar memory? Do they bring up any emotions?
- Take a new or modified route home and notice anything different about this commute, both in your surroundings and in your awareness and emotions.
- After you’ve taken the keys out of the ignition or as you approach your door, take three deep breaths in gratitude for another work day completed.
- As you brush your teeth, repeat the gratefulness practice you had at the beginning of the day.
- Before you go to bed, pay attention to how your body feels. Remember how it felt in the morning.
Want to learn the benefits of all these mindfulness practices? Check out our blog on the benefits of mindfulness in business.