A quiet, private space may be most ideal for meditation, but it is not always an option at the office.
What many people don’t realize, though, is that you actually don’t need to be in a quiet space in order to meditate. Learning to meditate in a loud, chaotic space can help you keep your head on in your noisy, everyday life. At work, you might try meditating in the office bathroom, a conference room, a stairwell, or an elevator.
Another option: If you have a decent amount of time and are able go out for a walk, try practicing “walking meditation,” a method in which you get into a rhythm and march.
An easy way to start this while working is to set up your phone timer for however long you can mediate. Begin by starting with your left foot, then right foot, then left foot, and continue in that movement. Walk slowly. Remember you are trying to meditate, not racing to your next meeting. Let your anchor be your feet. Feel the sensation of your feet hitting the ground. If your mind happens to drift, bring it back. Recall the feeling of your feet touching the ground and hold on to that. Once you come to the end of your path (or the hallway) turn around and do it again. Left, right, left…
If you are still unable to meditate at work (because maybe you work in an emergency room or drive a bus and the environment just doesn’t allow for it), we suggest trying “car meditation.” Arrive to work ten minutes early. Once you get there, park your car in the parking lot and just sit. Or, if you take public transportation, don some shaded sunglasses, put your headphones in, and listen to a guided app on your way to work.
There are no rules for meditation. If you are breathing, you are halfway there.
Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz are the co-authors of Just Sit: A Meditation Guidebook For People Who Know They Should But Don’t