... and any experiences you might have had. 4-Minute Neck and Shoulders Stretch at Your Desk - Rodney Yee hpps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLPfP1oRJFM.
M i n d f u l n e s s i n t h e Wo r k p l a c e
INTRODUCTION Mindfulness in the Workplace is an eLearning module designed to teach you four basic forms of mindfulness meditaAon that can be used in your workplace. • Desk MeditaAon • Desk SiFng Yoga • Oﬃce Walking MediaAon • Oﬃce Body Scan MediaAon What is Mindfulness Medita/on: “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through: Paying ANenAon, In a ParAcular Way, on Purpose, In the Present Moment, Non-Judgmentally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn MeditaAon is a counterintuiAve acAvity. It’s really a non-doing. It’s perhaps the only human endeavour that does not involve trying to get somewhere else, but rather, emphasizes being where you already area. Much of the Ame, we tend to have liNle awareness of the incessant and relentless acAvity of our own mind and how much we are driven by it. We are carried away by all the doing, the striving, the planning, and the reacAng the busyness. This is especially true at work. This is not at all surprising, given that we hardly ever stop and observe the mind directly to see what it’s up to. MeditaAon will teach you become aware of what’s happening in the present, unclouded by the acAvity of the thinking mind. MeditaAon shows us how to become aware of how much of stress and how much of worry is a result of thinking about the past and worrying about the future. We will become aware of our habitual thought paNerns and we can 3
begin to respond rather than react. We can respond in healthy way to the challenges of life. A simple example of this is if you are watching a sunset and are thinking about what you have to do at work the next day, you are not really present, you are not really experiencing the sunset. MeditaAon will teach you to dwell in the present moment. The techniques of are simple. They involve doing the two things you are doing right now. SiFng and Breathing. Yet meditaAon is decepAve in its simplicity. The below is a quote from Thich Nhat Han, Vietnamese mindfulness monk: Our breathing is a stable solid ground that we can take refuge in. Regardless of our internal weather - our thoughts, emoAons and percepAons - our breathing is always with us like a faithful friend. Whenever we feel carried away, or sunken in a deep emoAon, or scaNered in worries and projects, we return to our breathing to collect and anchor our mind. We feel the ﬂow of air coming in and going out of our nose. We feel how light and natural, how calm and peaceful our breathing funcAons. At any Ame, while we are walking, gardening, or typing, we can return to this peaceful source of life. So you might think that mediaAon is simple. And it is. It’s simple but not easy
You can probably sit for hours driving or watching TV. But you can imagine that a^er a few minutes of siFng in meditaAon the mind will rebel. You cannot simply meditate for long periods of Ames just because you have decided to do so. If you try to stop and watch the breath, and the body, what you probably noAce a^er a very short Ame is that a part of you does not want to do this for very long.
It said this is the point that the work of self-observaAon gets parAcularly interesAng and frui_ul. If, when meditaAng, aNenAon moves oﬀ the breath 100 Ames then we bring it back to the breath 100 Ames. We noAce it as soon as we can, and bring our aNenAon back to the felling of breath moving in and out of the body. In this way, you training your mind to build concentraAon, in much the same way as li^ing weights builds muscle. ConcentraAon builds and so the ability to be in the present moment. In the modules to come we will be exploring four diﬀerent types of mediaAon that you can pracAce at work, on your lunch or on a break. Simply ﬁnd a quiet place like your oﬃce where you can close the door and be alone for 20 minutes.
You will be asked to pracAce these techniques every day, and log your parAcipaAon and experiences. You will also be ask to sign a contract to the eﬀect that you will be parAcipaAng in these exercise. The course is four weeks long. MeditaAon can be a powerful tool in stress reducAon. You may very well begin to feel more relaxed and more producAve at work. All that is required is an aFtude of openness and curiosity. It should be noted that meditaAon has found its way into nearly every hospital in the world. It is now a tool used in conjuncAon with western medicine to help people heal from small and dramaAc injuries and condiAons alike. From reducing chronic pain, to helping with panic aNacks. To complete this introducAon, watch this Youtube on Mindfulness and the Stress ReducAon Clinic at the University of MassachuseNs by the founder of the clinic John Kabat- Zinn.
Healing from Within: Jon Kabat-Zinn (PBS) hNps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D09HI_WFl5U
Desk MeditaAon Simple but not easy MediaAon is simple. Simple but not easy. The ﬁrst type of mediaAon we will learn is Desk or SiFng MediaAon. We want to sit on the edge of our chair in a posiAon that embodies wakefulness and dignity. And we breath in the normal way. What is unique is the aNenAon we bring to the acAvity. We feel the breath come in, and we feel the breath go out. We may choose to feel the breath the nose or the belly. We feel the breath come in and we feel it go out. We feel all the sensaAons big and small associated with breathing. We dwell in the present, moment by moment, breath by breath. Let’s give it a try. As you sit here, take three breaths: Breathing in, say to yourself: “I know that I am breathing in.” Breathing out, say to yourself: “I know that I am breathing out.” Breathing in: “I know that I am breathing in.” Breathing out: “I know that I am breathing out.” Breathing in: “I know that I am breathing in.” Breathing out: “I know that I am breathing out.”
You do not need to control our breath. Feel the breath as it actually is. It may be long or short, deep or shallow. With our awareness it will naturally become slower and deeper. Conscious breathing is the key to uniAng body and mind. Remember, as we discussed in the introducAon, your mind will inevitably wanders oﬀ the breath. You are not giving yourself a hard Ame because your mind le^ the breath. You simply return your aNenAon to the breath, gently but ﬁrmly. MeditaAon is not so concerned with how much thinking is going on as it is with how much room you are making for it to take place from one moment to the next. Mindfulness mediaAon is not about pushing thoughts away or walling yourself oﬀ from them to quiet your mind. We are not trying to stop our thoughts we are leFng them be, leFng them go and returning to breath. Now let’s try a guided meditaAon. Instruc/ons 1. Sit on the edge of your chair 2. Start the guided mediaAon 3. Turn your aNenAon to your breathing. Feel the breath coming in and out of body. 4. If your aNenAon wanders oﬀ the breath, note where your aNenAon has gone and what is on your mind, the gently, and without condemning yourself just let go of your thinking and bring your aNenAon back to your breath. 5. Log your pracAce and any experiences you might have had.
10-minute mediaAon hNps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HYLyuJZKno
Desk SiFng Yoga Yoga is Medita/on Too o^en at work, we ﬁnd ourselves behind a computer for hours and hours on end. As our stress increases, so too does the tension in our back, shoulders, and throughout our body. Today, we will be learning gentle stretching exercises, while bringing moment-tomoment awareness of our breathing and sensaAon in our body. When bringing this type of aNenAon to yoga, it is meditaAon just as much as breathing meditaAon is. This exercise is designed to be done right at your desk, and is short in terms of clock Ame. It will help to relieve the tension that can be created by siFng in-front of a computer for hours at a Ame. Since the exercise is short, feel free to pracAce it many Ames a day. It is important to remember this is not a physical exercise in the classic sense. You do not want to push yourself. Instead the aFtude is diametrically diﬀerent. We want to ﬁnd where your limits are in the stretches, then dwell or be with that limit. Over Ame, you will feel you ﬂexibility increase. You may ﬁnd that even if you feel Ared or exhausted when you begin the session, a^er you feel energize and rejuvenated. The word yoga is Sanskrit meaning ‘yoke’. Yoga is the pracAce of unifying the body and the mind. INSTRUCTIONS 1. Sit on the edge of your chair, and play the video. 2. As you go through the pracAce, remember to feel your breath and in that awareness feel or be with the sensaAons as best you can. 3. Remember to ﬁnd the point where the stretch feel comfortable. Never push yourself beyond this point. 4. If and when you ﬁnd your mind is no longer on the feeling of the stretch or your breath, congratulate yourself for becoming aware your mind is no longer in the present and bring your aNenAon back to the stretch. 8
5. Log your pracAce and any experiences you might have had.
4-Minute Neck and Shoulders Stretch at Your Desk - Rodney Yee hNps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLPfP1oRJFM
Oﬃce Walking MediaAon Kiss the earth with your feet. - Thich Nhat Hanh Oﬃce walking mediaAon is an excellent opportunity to get up from your desk and move your body. We are familiar with geFng so busy, with our minds becoming so full tasks, that before when are aware, we have been siFng in a single spot for hours on end. Walking meditaAon is diﬀerent from regular walking. If observed, you may appear strange to others, so in the beginning it is best to ﬁnd a spot where you can pracAce undisturbed. Walking meditaAon is not about geFng somewhere, it is about bringing aNenAon the sensaAons in our bodies as we walk. You only need a small space of 15 feet or so. You will slow the walking to a almost snails pace. Taking each step deliberately and slowly. Feeling the sensaAon of your feet touch the ground. Walk like a baby trying to learn to walk. INSTRUCTIONS 1. Close your oﬃce door and take oﬀ your shoes. Begin the instrucAonal video. 2. Mark of a space to walk about 10-15 feet long. You can also walk in a circle. 3. Stand at the starAng point, and step slowly and deliberately. As your foot touches the ground be aware of any sensaAon in the pad of the foot, in the leg or in the body. 4. ConAnue to walk slowly and mindfully. At the endpoint stop, and breath, then turn and walk back. 5. When stepping, try pausing as you foot touches the ground and before you transfer your weight. Rock back and forth on your foot, feeling the diﬀerent sensaAons in your body. 6. Log your pracAce and any experiences you might have had. As you become accustomed to paying aNenAon in this way you can begin to use this technique as you walk to work or the your car - paying aNenAon to the sensaAons in your body as you walk. 10
Mindful Walking Media/on hNps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYO7kedlfYw
Oﬃce Body Scan MediaAon
Reestablishing Contact The Body Scan is another type of mediaAon that helps us get out of minds and into our bodies. To o^en in our working live we are all in our heads. By that, it is meant that we sit and use our minds for hours on end and seldom think about our bodies. Yet, our bodies are always here with us, and sensaAons are always ﬂowing and running through us. We can use these sensaAon to anchor us in the present moment, we can become reminded (or re-bodied) to be in the present moment by paying aNenAon to our bodies. It can be remarkably liberaAng, and feel very calming to spend some Ame being in and with our bodies. We are retraining ourself to be with the body in the present moment, to appreciate it for all it does. That heart works, that the liver works, that the feet work, for example. And if you have trouble with any part of your body, it is a chance to spend some Ame giving your body loving-kindness aNenAon. A^er some Ame, if you feel unstable or troubled, you can drop into the body and it can help you feel centred and calm, and allow you to bring your enAre self to bear on a parAcular diﬃculty. For this pracAce you will need 15 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted Ame in your oﬃce with door closed or in a designated mediaAon room. Instruc/ons 1
Lie down on your back in your oﬃce with door closed or in a designated mediaAon room on a comfortable cushion such as on a foam pad or yoga mat. Start the guided meditaAon.
Allow your eyes to gently close. 12
Feel the rising and falling of your belly with each inbreathe and out breath.
You will be bringing your aNenAon to diﬀerent body parts such as the toes of the le^ foot. NoAce any sensaAon there or lack of them. Just feel them
Allow yourself to feel any and all sensaAons from your toes, feeling them and watching the ﬂux of sensaAons in this region. If you don't feel anything at the moment, that is ﬁne too. Just allow yourself to feel "not feeling anything”.
When the instrucAons tell you to move on, take a deep breath and allow them to "dissolve" in your "mind's eye”.
Bring your mind back to the breath and to the region you are focusing on each Ame you noAce that your aNenAon has le^ the sensaAons of the body.
Follow the guided mediaAon through the enAre body.
10 Log your pracAce and any experiences you might have had.
Oﬃce Body Scan hNps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hm2Wymc0FtQ
Appendix Hints And SuggesAons For Reducing Work Stress Source: John Kabat-Zinn Full Catastrophe Living 1
When you wake up, take a few quiet moments to aﬃrm that you are choosing to go to work today. If you can, brieﬂy review what you think you will be doing and remind yourself that it mayor may not happen that way.
Bring awareness to the whole process of preparing to go to work. This might include showering, dressing, eaAng, and relaAng to the people you live with. Tune in to your breathing and your body from Ame to Ame.
Don't say good-bye mechanically to people. Make eye contact with them, touch them, really be "in" those moments, slow them down just a bit. If you leave before other people wake up, you might try wriAng them a brief note to say good morning and express your feelings toward them.
If you walk to public transportaAon, be aware of your body walking, standing and waiAng, riding, and geFng oﬀ. Walk into work mindfully. Breathe. Try smiling inwardly. If driving, take a moment or two to come to your breathing before you start the car. Remind yourself that you are about to drive oﬀ to work now. Some days at least try driving without the radio on. Just drive and be with yourself, moment by moment. When you park, take a moment or two to just sit and breathe before you leave the car. Walk into work mindfully. Breathe. If your face is already tense and grim, try smiling, or try a half smile if that is too much.
At work, take a moment from Ame to Ame to monitor your bodily sensaAons. Is there tension in your shoulders, face, hands, or back? How are you siFng or standing in this moment? What is your body language saying? Consciously let go 14
of any tension as best you can as you exhale and shi^ your posture to one that expresses balance, dignity, and alertness. 6
When you ﬁnd yourself walking at work, take the edge oﬀ it. Walk mindfully. Don't rush unless you have to. If you have to, know that you are rushing. Rush mindfully. Use any breaks you get to truly relax. Instead of drinking coﬀee or smoking a cigareNe, try going outside the building for three minutes and walking or standing and breathing. Or do neck and shoulder rolls at your desk (see Figure 7). Or shut your oﬃce door if you can and sit quietly for ﬁve minutes or so, following your breathing.
Spend your breaks and lunchAme with people you feel comfortable with. Otherwise, maybe it would be beNer for you to be alone. Changing your environment at lunch can be helpful. Choose to eat one or two lunches per. week in silence, mindfully.
AlternaAvely don't eat lunch. Go out and exercise, every day if you can, or a few days per week. Exercise is a great way of reducing stress. Your ability to do this will depend on how much ﬂexibility you have in your job. If you can do it, it is a wonderful way of clearing the mind, reducing your tension, and starAng the a^ernoon refreshed and with a lot of energy. I try to get out of the hospital and run in the middle of the day for from half an hour to an hour, depending on my schedule. Many work places have organized employee exercise programs, such as aerobics, weight li^ing, yoga, and dance, both at lunchAme and before and a^er work. If you have the opportunity to exercise at work, take it! But remember, an exercise program takes the same kind of commitment that the formal meditaAon takes. And when you do it, do it mindfully.
10 Try to stop for one minute every hour and become aware of your breathing. We waste far more Ame than this daydreaming at work. Use these mini-meditaAons to tune in to the present and just be. Use them as moments in which to regroup and
recoup. All it takes is remembering to do it. This one is not easy, since we so easily get carried away by the momentum of all the doing. 11 Use everyday cues in your environment as reminders to centre yourself and relaxthe telephone ringing, down Ame at the computer terminal, waiAng for someone else to ﬁnish something before you can start. Instead of relaxing by "spacing out," relax by tuning in. 12 Be mindful of your communicaAons with people during the work day. Are they saAsfactory? Are some problemaAc? Think about how you might improve them. Be aware of people who tend to operate in a passive mode or a hosAle mode with you. Think about how you might approach them more eﬀecAvely. Think about how you might be more sensiAve to other people's feelings and needs. How might you help others at work by being more mindful? How might awareness of tone of voice and body language help you when communicaAng? 13 At the end of the day, review what you have accomplished and make a list of what needs to be done tomorrow. PrioriAze the items on your list so that you know what is most important. 14 As you are leaving, bring your awareness to walking and breathing again. Be aware of the transiAon we call "leaving work." Monitor your body. Are you exhausted? Are you standing erect or bent over? What expression is on your face? 15 If you are taking public transportaAon, bring your aNenAon to your walking, standing, and siFng. NoAce if you are rushing. Can you "back it down a bit" and own those moments between work and home as much as any of your other moments to live? Or, if you are driving, take a moment or two once again to sit in your car before you start it up. Drive home mindfully.
16 Before you walk in the door, realize that you are about to do so. Be aware of this transiAon we call "coming home." Try greeAng people mindfully and making eye contact rather than shouAng to announce your arrival. 17 As soon as you can, take your shoes oﬀ and get out of your work clothes. Changing to other clothes can complete the transiAon from work to home and allow you to integrate more quickly and consciously into your non-work roles. If you can make the Ame, take ﬁve minutes or so to meditate before you do anything else, even cooking or eaAng dinner.