How to Stay Mindful At Your Desk Job

Jobs filled with deadlines, meetings and paperwork may not seem like an ideal setting to practice mindfulness, but it might be just what workers need to get through the daily grind. Mindfulness skills have been shown to help with depression and stress reduction, which means they are ideal for workers who spend their 9-5 behind a desk. If you are unsure how to apply “in the moment” techniques at the office, follow these tips to get started.

Take charge of your schedule

If your work day feels scattered, so will your mind. Even though you might not have total control over your daily routine, there are probably ways to structure your time so that you will be both more efficient and more relaxed.

Start by realistically assessing your work day and creating a schedule that reflects how you spend your time. If you know Monday’s lunch hour will always be packed with weekend catch-up work, try and schedule yourself moments for peacefulness later in the day. Block out even small, 5 minute chunks of time to practice being in the moment. You can use this time to do some deep breathing, desk yoga or free writing in your journal.

Plan a mindful lunch break

Sitting down to eat a meal without scrolling through our smartphones or distracting ourselves with TV is a rarity nowadays. We are missing out on a perfect opportunity to center ourselves in the present moment when we mindlessly chow down on our lunches, and this includes meals at the office.

Find a spot that is either comfortable or new and stimulating to eat your lunchtime meal. Tuck away your phone and any paperwork that may entice you—this is your time to share with your food. Pay attention to each bite—the texture, taste and smell—and the sensation of satisfying your hunger. These experiences and bodily cues so often get lost in our rush or distraction during lunch, but by munching mindfully you can change the trend.

Change your scenery

Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, but it may be more challenging in settings that are boringly familiar. Try taking a walk around the block or in a portion of the building that is less traveled. The different sensory experiences will trigger your awareness, allowing you to take note of your surroundings and making it harder to become distracted.

Create a grounding environment

You can also change the landscape of your desk and office to invite a daily mindful practice. Try engaging all of your senses during your mindfulness breaks throughout the day by practicing the art of grounding or intentionally focusing on details of your surroundings. Bring into your awareness the sights, smells, sounds and physical touch sensations of your space.

Find ways of manipulating your work environment to invite calming sensations. Introduce aromatherapy oils to your space to spark intense focus or relaxation, a comfortable lumbar support pillow or a detailed photograph of your favorite outdoor location. Each of these elements can serve as reminders to pause and reflect.

Take a moment to scan your body for tension

Work can be fulfilling at times, as well as stressful or tiring. Practicing body scan meditation can reduce feelings of tension and can usually be performed just about anywhere. Utilize your reformed schedule to fit in this practice and you will feel more prepared to navigate any stressful occurrences that pop up throughout the day.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Philippa Powers
Philippa Powers2 years ago


Nellie K Adaba
Nellie K Adaba2 years ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

M. M.
M. M2 years ago

and thanks for the link to body scan meditation ;-)

Nathan D.
Nathan D2 years ago

Sounds nice, but you would have to have a really understanding boss. I'm sure most people have experienced a supervisor who believes speed equals efficiency. They don't believe your getting paid to be spiritual and mellow. These kind of people focus on giving everyone else ulcers.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Teresa Antela
Teresa A2 years ago


tanya r.
addy J2 years ago


Margie FOURIE2 years ago

Thank you