De-Stress Instantly at Work


During an eight-hour workday we each take about 8,000 breaths. This is great news. We have 8,000 opportunities to touch peace, creativity and productivity.

In everyday life, we often get lost in forgetfulness, operating on autopilot for most of our waking ours. Our mind chases after thousands of things, and we rarely take the time to come back to ourselves, to be in touch with ourselves. We end up feeling overwhelmed and alienated from ourselves. Conscious breathing is a marvelous way to return to ourselves, like a child returning home after a long journey. When we are still, we feel the calmness that we have inside of us, and we find ourselves again

When we follow our breathing we are already at ease, no longer dominated by our anxieties, resentments and longings. As we breathe consciously, we become more stable with each moment. (excerpted from Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life)

Research shows that mindfulness practice elevates happiness and work quality, which is why companies like Google and Kaiser Permanente offer employees in-house mindfulness trainings.

Not so in your work environment? That’s OK. There’s no need to await the day your organization adopts mindfulness. We can choose to pause and take a few mindful breaths anytime, anywhere. This simple act is an incredibly effective stress management tool.

Acknowledging the Breath  -- A Stress-Busting Practice:

Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.

Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.

*Repeat the phrases silently to yourself. Embody them. Focus on your inhale and exhale. In just a few moments, you will witness emotions calm and steadiness return.

Return to conscious breathing whenever you feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. A visual prompt is helpful – especially in the first few days of practice. Choose a screen saver or place a plant on your desk that acts as your signal to pause and practice.

Repeat this practice regularly for one week to form a handy habit. With repetition, stress can naturally trigger a mindful breathing response that calms the body and mind.

Photo Credit:Shawnzrossi

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Great post, Lillian! Your post reminds me to breathe mindfully during my work too. You're right that I need some sort of reminder for this, but it's a great idea--taking the idea of a mindful break and extending it into mindful work. Seems obvious, but yet it isn't something I regularly think of. Will change my screen saver now ;-)

Dear Kristen,

What did you change your screen saver to? I find mindful reminders so very helpful :).