Not Napping At Your Desk

How mindfulness grew into a Suzy company culture mainstay over three weeks.

A coworker had apparently seen me sitting with my eyes closed. Again.

I started practicing mindfulness meditation in 2012, after reading a blog post explaining how I could change my life for the better in only ten minutes a day.

Who wouldn’t want that?

I started meditating that day and have continued to practice consistently since then. That blog post wasn’t kidding.

Did you know Warren takes naps at his desk?

About 18 months ago, a curious coworker (having seen me meditating at my desk) suggested that I schedule time to explain the practice to folks in the office who were interested. I scheduled a meeting to give an overview and initial practice session for anyone interested.

Since then, a group of us at Suzy HQ have meditated together daily, improving our lives ten minutes at a time.

It’s even on our company calendars. Everyday at high noon.

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So why has mindfullness grown into a cultural mainstay? 
Simple — we are allowed to pause. Once a day, we all are affored 10minutes to hit reset.

What is mindfulness, exactly?

Mindfulness is a skill or personal attribute characterized by focused awareness of the phenomena occurring in your mind and body. It is awareness of thoughts as they arrive and depart, awareness of emotions as they swell and diminish, awareness of physical sensations, sounds, smells, and images as they appear in consciousness.

Mindfulness helps you to learn the inner workings of your own mind, and a growing body of research shows that a lot of good things happen as you build it:

  • Increased focus
  • Improved ability to deal with your own and others’ emotions
  • Greater compassion
  • Decreased anxiety and better stress management
  • Reduction in pain and depression
  • Changes in grey matter density in the brain (specifically in areas related to learning, memory, self-awareness, and emotional regulation)

What about meditation?

Meditation is a practice that cultivates the skill of mindfulness. When we meditate, we choose an object of focus, commonly the breath, and repeatedly return our focus to that object whenever it wanders. Over time and with consistent practice, mindfulness grows.

How do you do it?

Our group at Suzy practices in a few different ways, sometimes with guided meditations, but often simply in silence.

To try it for yourself, set a timer for five minutes. Give yourself permission to have no other priorities for the next five minutes other than practicing meditation to build mindfulness.

Sit down, on a chair or cushion, with your back straight but not rigid and your hands in your lap or on your knees.

Close your eyes.

Take three deep breaths in and out through your nose. Notice where you feel the physical sensations of breathing most distinctly, typically either in the nose or in the rising and falling of the chest and stomach.

Allow your breath to return to its normal rhythm. As you sit, breathing naturally, simply focus your attention on the sensation of breathing. If it helps, pretend that each breath is your first ever and that you are discovering the sensations for the first time.

Thoughts, emotions, and other sensations will appear during these five minutes.That’s OK. When you notice a thought present in the mind, simply return your attention to the breath.

For five minutes, until your timer goes off, continue to be aware of the breath and return to it each time you notice you’ve wandered.

Anything else?

You can practice mindfulness anywhere, any time. See if you can incorporate a mindfullness practice within your team — start with a few coworkers and then scale up. The mere act of doing it is bound to provoke questions.

Just tell them you’re not napping at your desk.

Other Resources

Recommended Guided Meditations
By Sam Harris

Recommended Books
10% Happier, by Dan Harris
Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Waking Up, by Sam Harris (no relation to Dan)

Recommended Apps
Headspace
10% Happier
Calm

p.s. did you land here but have no idea what Suzy is? No worries — meet suzy.