Dr. Jeff Brantley, founder and director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at Duke Integrative Medicine, reads from his book, “Five Good Minutes At Work,” during a DukeWell seminar. “The five good minutes concept is simple,” Brantley writes in the book. “Take the time, for just five minutes to be present mindfully.”
1. Focus on a calming object. When negative thoughts fill the mind, ground yourself by looking at an object that invokes calmness, such as a plant or a personal photo. Then focus your attention on your breath for several minutes. When your attention wanders toward the negative thoughts, focus it gently again on your breath and the object.
2. Train your attention. Choose a rote task like washing your hands and train yourself to pay attention to the sensations of the moment each time you do it. “This is a way of practicing focusing our attention,” Brantley said. “Focusing on physical sensations brings the mind back to the present.”
3. Take a power break. In his book, Brantley suggests taking five minutes for a silent meditation retreat away from all electronics. “Take notice of the simple vibrancy of your immediate surroundings,” he writes. Sitting quietly at your workplace, focus on your senses; listen to passing noises, enjoy patches of color and notice the warmth of your hands in your lap. Pay attention to the world around you without feeling the need to respond.
4. Take a hike. “Just before lunch, give yourself permission to get outside,” Brantley writes in his book. “Take five minutes to be mindful of your natural surroundings. When it comes time to return, with every step you take toward your job site, become increasingly aware of the calming power of being outside.” For more, click here.
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