The stress and pressure of the average workplace doesn’t always bring out the best in people, but there’s no better place to develop real equanimity. (It’s kind of like New York City — if you can make peace at work, you can make it anywhere.)
Renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg’s book, Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace, offers some “stealth meditations” you can build into your workday to help you find grace under pressure a little more easily. Each takes one minute or less and can improve a working day considerably. Here are a few to try:
- “Try to perform a simple, conscious act of kindness each day. It can be as simple as holding an elevator door.” (page 18)
- “Unitask! Focus exclusively on just one thing for a small portion of time. Try setting a timer for 15 minutes, so you can focus without straining.” (page 34)
- “If you’re on a conference call, refrain from checking your email or doing another task at the same time.” (page 44)
- “Every time you feel bored, pay more acute attention to the moment. Are you listening carefully or are you multitasking? Try to be fully present with just one thing.” (page 51)
- “For an upcoming one-on-one conversation, resolve to listen more and speak less.” (page 144)
- “If you are feeling down or discouraged, consider helping someone at work. Science has identified a happiness-helping loop. The more you help, the happier you can be.” (page 178)
- “When walking to a meeting or to lunch, feel your feet against the ground and the sense of your body moving through space. Do not text or take calls while you are doing this.” (page 188)
- “Use doorways consciously. As you come upon that in-between space, feel your feet against the floor, your hand on the knob; touch the doorway you pass through.” (page 208)
- “Look for ways to acknowledge someone’s challenges. Even when you can’t fix things, people appreciate the recognition that the workload is growing, that the new deadline is a killer, that it’s hard to deal with others’ grumpiness.” (page 222)
- “If you find yourself straining to think ‘outside the box,’ explore what made up that box. Understanding how you got to where you are is the first step in going beyond that point.” (page 234)
If you test any of these out and find them helpful, let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @ExperienceLife.
Courtney Helgoe is an Experience Life senior editor.