Take a midday break to be mindful. Your mind/body/soul will thank you.
Oh my gosh, guys–I am so excited to share this with you!
How many of you leave work feeling refreshed and energized? I’d bet money that not many of you are ecstatically raising your hands. That’s why this idea is so genius.
A midday mindfulness group that meets for 30 minutes during your lunch break. Brilliant, right? Thank goodness one of my fellow co-workers Sonja, a social worker who is trained in yoga and meditation, offered to start a group. She got the okay with corporate and we started meeting in a small conference room 1 time per week. Your initial reaction might be, Um, must be nice. No one at my work is trained in meditation. Totally ok, you don’t need to be! Here’s an outline of our first meeting. Anyone interested in being mindful can lead a group and pull this off. Promise.
Depending on the space, just work with what you’ve got. My group of co-workers and I sat around a large table in chairs. If you have the room for everyone to bring yoga mats and sit on the floor, even better. Or utilize an outdoor space if possible.
How To Start A Midday Mindfulness Group
∇ Have everyone share their name and what brought them to the group. Are they a beginner and wanting to learn more? Is work and/or real life stressing them out? Talk a little about the stressors they are experiencing. Acknowledge that yes, your mind needs a break. All the typing, calling, talking and thinking can really wear you down. And if you’re not in a good place, it impacts your work productivity. Look at these stats form Journey Meditation-they work with corporations to help employees learn how to meditate and increase work performance. Show your supervisors or corporate this to get them on board with the group!
- Increase Performance & Productivity
- Through their internal meditation and yoga program, Aetna employees gained over an hour of productivity per week, valued at approximately $3,000 per employee per year.
- Increase Employee Satisfaction & Engagement
- In a University of Wisconsin study, employees at a biotech company were happier, and more in touch with what they loved about their job after just 8 weeks of meditation.
- Have Healthier, Happier Employees & Reduce Sick Days
- Research at Duke University on mindfulness in the workplace found a 36% decrease in stress levels.
- Studies at the University of Wisconsin showed that mindfulness makes people happier and practitioners missed 76% fewer days of work than non-practitioners.
- Improve Workplace Harmony & Build More Cohesive Teams
- In a study published in Psychological Science, meditators were three times as likely to offer assistance to a person in need.
- A Northeastern University study concluded that meditation makes us more compassionate in any context, including the workplace.
∇ Give a brief introduction to what mindfulness is. The leader of my group explained it this way…If you don’t know what mindfulness is, you can think of it as stress management (if you like more Western terms) or meditation (if you’re up for the exotic approach). There are piles of studies that show that a mindfulness practice can help improve your focus, your mood, and your physical health.
I really like how Wildmind.com explains it–Left to itself, the mind wanders through all kinds of thoughts — including thoughts expressing anger, craving, depression, revenge, self-pity, etc. As we indulge in these kinds of thoughts we reinforce those emotions in our hearts and cause ourselves to suffer. Mostly these thoughts are about the past or future. The past no longer exists. The future is just a fantasy until it happens. The one moment we actually can experience — the present moment — is the one we seem most to avoid. So, in mindfulness we’re concerned with noticing what’s going on right now.
Here’s what works for me–I sit quietly with my palms to the sky, close my eyes, and take some deep breaths. I focus on my breathing and the sounds around me. When a thought creeps into my mind, I acknowledge it and then redirect myself back to my breathing.
∇ Lead the group in doing a 2 minute silent meditation and afterwards, discuss how everyone felt. It will probably feel kind of weird to newbies. Then, use an app such as Headspace to do a guided meditation for 5 minutes. End with a silent meditation for the last 5 minutes. Each group, you can build on the amount of time you meditate.
I left the group feeling refreshed and motivated to tackle the rest of my workday. Definitely noticed a boost in my mood and energy…just love it.
Your co-workers will thank you. 😉