Monday tip: Take five

The Chief Happiness Officer's monday tipsWork has become quite hectic for most of us. Emails, phone calls, meetings, deadlines, questions, customers all vie for our attention. If we want time for reflection and calm at work we have to create it for ourselves. That’s the point of this Monday Tip.

Your mission: Take five. At some point during the day, take five uninterrupted, quiet minutes to relax. Here’s how it works:

1: Find a place where you won’t be interrupted
No phones, no computers, no co-workers dropping by with a quick question. Some companies are creating quiet rooms for just this purpose, but in a pinch the bathroom works just fine.

2: Close your eyes
Just sit there for 30 seconds or so and relax.

3: Focus on your breathing
You don’t have to breathe in any specific way, just notice your breathing. Is it fast or slow? Is it deep or shallow? The way you breathe says a lot about your mental state. When you’re angry, stressed or afraid you breathing is typically fast and shallow. When you’re happy, relaxed and calm your breathing is typically deep and slow. Do this for about a minute.

4: Make you breath deep and slow
Just sit there with closed eyes and take deep slow breaths. Do this for two minutes. Your mental state affects your breath, and the link also goes the other way. Deep, slow breaths work to relax you.

5: Focus on yourself
Ask yourself these three questions

  1. How is my body feeling? Is there any pain? Any tense muscles? Any good feelings?
  2. How am I feeling? Am I happy, angry, calm, sad, excited? All of the above?
  3. What am I thinking? What oocupies your thoughts?

You don’t need to do anything about any of this, just sit there for a minute and ask yourself these questions. Keep your breathing deep and slow.

6: Breathe some more
Take another minute to just sit there with your eyes closed and breathe slowly and deeply. Then slowly open your eyes and go back to work.

This simple exercise only takes five minutes out of an entire work day, but it:

  • Reduces stress
  • Makes you more creative
  • Gives you more energy

And most importantly, it works as an Early Warning System against many problems at work. When work gets to hectic and too busy, it’s easy to miss the early signs that things are not going well. Things like tense shoulders and neck, headaches, anger, disappointment, restlessness or itching can all be early symptoms of stress. This exercise will help you actually notice the symptoms before they become more serious and turn into migraines, depression, conflict or worse.

Also check out this previous post: Don’t fight stress, promote peace.

The Chief Happiness Officer’s monday tips are simple, easy, fun things you can do to make yourself and others happy at work and get the work-week off to a great start. Something everyone can do in five minutes, tops. When you try it, write a comment here to tell me how it went.

Previous monday tips.

7 thoughts on “Monday tip: Take five”

  1. I liked your Monday Tip: ‘Take Five’. I feel like adding the following: If you feel like you simply don’t have time to follow this advice it means that the big red stress alert lamp is blinking.

  2. Great tips!:)

    Have been doing pretty similar “meditation” for few months and it really helps.

    Also helps if you feel tired; it’s great if you are able to meditate for 5 min and also take a mild nap at the same time, dive into your being and rest. Short but refreshing. When you get back on the surface of working state, you’re fresh and ready for new victories.;)

    Regards!

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