As soon as I hopped on a coaching call last week, I heard a sigh. Jamie was stressed out.
“How was your week Jamie?” I asked her.
“It was rough. My boss dumped all this extra work on my plate and I can’t do it all.”
“Are you feeling stressed.”
“Oh, boy, do I! I just can’t seem to stop thinking about work.”
“I know the feeling. Why do you think it’s so hard to let go?”
“I know, it’s just…” she trails off.
“It’s just what?”
“I’m not sure. I just don’t know the answer.”
How you feel at work affects your performance, relationships, and your happiness.
Jamie was obviously stressed, so we needed to start at the beginning of how she could deal with her stress. First we had to focus on her and get her back to a calm state before she can even tackle the work overload.
So I asked her “What do you think about starting an easy mediation practice?”
“I can’t meditate!” She said.
“Can you breathe?” I asked.
“Can you sit on a chair or cushion?”
“Then you can meditate.”
I may have sounded blunt or facetious, but she knew I was serious. Meditation helps ease stress, improve focus, and best of all increase happiness. I knew that if she could just meditate for two minutes a day for 30 days, she would be hooked.
I walked her through the steps to start meditating. Here are the basics for you to start your own meditation practice as well.
Step 1: Pick a time of day where you can set aside 2 minutes to just be by yourself in a quiet place.
If you live in a noisy house, then you might want to invest in a sound machine that can create white noise to help limit any distractions you may have when you meditate.
Step 2: Give yourself a very compelling reason you should start a 2 minute meditation practice.
Five popular reasons are:
- I want to reduce my stress.
- I want to be able to focus at work.
- I want to feel happier.
- I want to “enjoy the moment” more.
- I want to live longer.
Pick one or come up with your own reason, but you have to have a really important reason that’s close to your heart so you actually do the next step.
Step 3: Schedule this meditation time on your calendar for the next 30 days.
I meditate at the end of each day, usually after I put my son to bed and before my quality time with my wife. So it’s flexible, but always done. I started with 2 minutes because it felt easy. It got me started and I loved it.
Now I usually meditate for 10 – 15 minutes Because 2 minutes turned into 5 and then 10. I really do love it, and I rely on it to help keep me happy.
Step 4: Meditate for 2 minutes.
This is actually the hardest part because your inner arch nemesis may hold you back at first, but don’t listen to your inner arch nemesis (internal voice) that may say you don’t have time or that meditating is silly. Say “thank you for your input, but I’m going to try meditating for just 2 minutes”.
So here’s the process:
- Sit down on a cushion or chair. It’s important to have a straight spine so the air moves in and out of your lungs easily.
- Set a timer for two minutes and hit start.
- Close your eyes, put a slight smile on your face to relax your facial muscles, and breathe slowly and easily.
- Feel your breath going in and out, and also focus your attention on it.
- Every time your thoughts wander to work, life or whatever, just bring your attention back to your breath.
- Repeat #5 again and again for the 2 minutes until your timer dings. You will probably repeat this process 1,000 or 10,000 times for many many months, until you can keep your focus on your breath for any extended period of time. That’s ok, it’s the practice of bringing your focus back to your breath that matters.
I guarantee that at the start, you will lose focus. You may feel frustrated. You may even feel weak. That is all part of the process.
Remember to start simple. Don’t just dive in and meditate for 20 minutes, especially if you are new to meditation. Start with 2 minutes and eventually work your way up.
Step 5: Be Thankful
After your meditation is over, take a few seconds to be thankful about what went well during your 2-minute meditation.
This last step is important. Taking the time to appreciate your meditation will help reinforce this hard work so you will want to do it again tomorrow.
For example, I usually pick 3 different things to be thankful for:
- Thank you lungs for working well during my meditation.
- Thank you brain for trying your hardest to stay focused on my breath.
- Thank you heart for circulating my blood while I meditated.
Step 6: Take Action
Now go look at your calendar and figure out where you can put 2 minutes of meditation into your schedule every day for 30 days and make it happen. Once you find a good time, try to be consistent with when you meditate, so it has a better chance of becoming a habit.
Even if it means that you can only meditate for one minute then at least do it for one minute. If you can make meditation a part of your daily routine your happiness will increase, your stress will lower, and work will be easier.
Step 7: Tell a Supportive Friend
When you tell someone that you are going to meditate for 2 minutes everyday you will feel responsible to actually do it. Tell them in person. Tell your social media friends. Tell your co-workers. Join a local meditation group. Tell us in the comment section.
You won’t want to let them down.
It’s just a little trick to make sure you give yourself the best chance of turning this stress relieving and happiness inducing practice into a daily routine.
Who wants to join in?
If you want support from the Work Happy Now community, then make your voice heard in the Comment section. We’ll be glad to support you and help you get your meditation practice off the ground.
If you know you want to start meditation to lower your stress, try starting with Active Relaxation. It's more of meditation for everyday experiences.
And even if you don’t need support, please comment on how you’re doing with your new meditation practice.
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