The Key to Peace at the Office


Just breathe.

Mindfully attending to the breath can help us understand a single, single yet critical concept. That is the breath like everything else is impermanent. It comes and goes. Arises, exists for a short time, then naturally fades away.

While you sit at your desk, or stand out in the field or where ever you work, pause, once an hour and for a few minutes focus on your breath with full attention.

Notice how it rises and falls. You may notice this in the belly, on  your lip or in your nostrils. Pick one place and don’t go shopping for the spot on which you will focus.Yes, there is a continuum of breathing, one breath following the next but also, do you notice that slight moment between each breath? A tiny suspension as one ends and another begins?

Observe each single breath as you inhale, pause, exhale, pause, inhale … Each breath is different. Some short, some long. Sometimes we breathe quickly, when we’re excited, nervous or exercising.  When we’re relaxed, we tend to breathe more slowly. And note, please, that the breath has no story. We don’t judge it a good or bad breath. We just do it.

Things happen to all of us at work that seem to cause stress for us. And I say seem because, this stress need not be a fact of life at all. Of course, we can not always change those events, people or personalities which challenge us. We can however, change our reactions to them. The first simple way to do this, is to take a lesson from our breath.

As we’ve already observed, each breath is impermanent. So too with work place events.

Try these techniques:

1. When something happens, someone says something, does something, you see someone you don’t much care for coming down the hall, you’re handed a seemingly impossible deadline on a work order …see where you feel it, physically in your body.

2. Observe the physical sensation, the stomach twinge, the clenched jaw, the headache – and immediately put your attention on your breath in that same spot you always use. It’s important to have that spot pre-selected so you don’t waste time feeling stressed.

3. As you observe your breath, you will notice that the stress you felt so intensely only a moment ago is going, going … gone. The breath has no story to tell. It helps us simply arrive more fully into the present moment without judgement or assessment, good or bad. Just with what in fact, IS. In, out, in out – always changing. Going, going, gone. Repeat as needed.

In this way, we begin to be fully present without any narrative to create any stress what so ever. We are simply and peacefully here. And with this, our responses to others around us changes, becomes more relaxed. More peacful. We can begin to respond instead with quiet, clarity, and compassion. We don’t add stress to the situation. And this makes the whole office more calm. We even do better work. And that’s something every company can take to the bank.

Would you like to feel less stress at work? Try the suggestions here. See how it goes.

Need a little help making it work? Contact us at Calm Chicago. We’re here to help.

www.calmchicago.org

Have a peaceful day.

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Author: Hillary Johnson

Improvisational documentary and fine art photographer.

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