Stress is an imposed force.
Strain is the deformation that does the damage.
Controlling the effects of stress is about three things:
- reducing the causes
- reducing the deformation
and, perhaps most important…
- reducing the damage that the deformation does
Think of a supple young tree. It can bend and move in the strongest winds, without damage. It is resilient.
In a workplace with more pressures to perform, shared among fewer staff, stress can only increase. One strategy to deal with this is to build your personal resilience, and a powerful technique is to learn simple five-minute workplace meditation.
This is the simplest of routines that requires no training – just five minutes of your time and a little practice. It will get easier the more you do it. It is not designed to take you into a deep meditation, but simply to relax and calm you quickly; just enough to be more resourceful in the face of a demanding day.
Step 1: Choose an Action Word
Before you even start practicing your five-minute meditation, it helps to choose an anchor word that you can use when practicing. Once you have used it often enough, just thinking of the word can trigger a start to relaxation. Good words to choose include: calm, warm, relax, soft, breathe, …
Step 2: Are you Sitting Comfortably
Find somewhere to sit comfortably for five minutes. Sit upright, with your hands resting lightly in your lap, or on your thighs. Softly close your eyes (if you wish. This will help, but it is not essential.)
Step 3: Relax
Start with your face, then your neck, then your shoulders. Notice any tension, then gently relax the muscles. Mentally repeat your anchor word as you do this. Continue down your body to your chest, arms, tummy, thighs, legs, ankles and toes.
Step 4: Melt
Fell your muscles like warm butter, gently softening and melting. Imagine your feet warming, melting and spreading out. As you notice each part of your body melting, mentally repeat your anchor word. Work your way up your body from your feet to your knees, your hips, tummy, chest, shoulders, neck and head. If you notice a lot of tension: let it go.
Step 5: Breathe
Then open your eyes. Yawn. Take three deep breaths. Blink a few times. Then slowly get up and move around. Notice how much sharper your senses seem.
That’s it. Done.