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5 Meditative Chair Exercises Guaranteed To Promote Work Productivity

5 Meditative Chair Exercises Guaranteed To Promote Work Productivity

Sitting on a computer all day to work can become a real pain in the neck (or back) if you don’t take regular breaks. Choosing to not get up and instead plow through your work often leads to fatigue, poor posture, and repetitive strain injuries of the wrists and arms.

Taking regular breaks through out your day to stretch or move around not only moves the blood around your body, it also provides your brain with a chance to recharge, so you can return to work more focused and productive.

More productive ways to spend your breaks include going outside to get fresh air, walking around the block or through a park, and drinking water. However, if you are pushed for time and limited by weather an even more optimal way to spend your break is to stretch your body and focus on your breathing.

Stretching your body elongates your muscles and gets rid of tightness from sitting in a fixed position. Slowing down and focusing on your breath controls your thoughts, emotions, and in turn reality.

As a entrepreneurial lifestyle coach and meditation teacher, I have seen the most success with office workers when teaching this basic set of five Kundalini warm up exercises, modified for a desk chair. Not only can these exercises be completed in five minutes, all my clients report feeling more relaxed and focused afterwards.

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Schedule in your calendar two breaks throughout the day, I recommend 10am and 4pm and spend a few minutes going through these meditative exercises. Close your eyes, relax and enjoy. What have you got to lose, except your stress and fatigue?

1. Spinal Flex

Meditation_SpinalTwist

    Benefits:
    This exercise stimulates and stretches the lower and mid-spine. It improves emotional balance and promotes better flow of energy between the lower and higher centers of the body by opening up your solar plexus chakra (below your heart).

    How it’s done:
    1. Sit on your chair with a straight spine.
    2. Hold on to your knees (if comfortable) or place your hands on thighs.
    3. While keeping your head straight and eyes looking forward, inhale and press your chest forward so you arch the bottom of your spine.
    4. As you exhale and remain looking forward with a straight head and curl your spine down and relax your shoulders.
    5. Continue rhythmically with deep breaths for 1 – 3 minutes.
    6. To end inhale, exhale, and relax.

    2. Sufi Grinds

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    Meditation_SufiGrind

      Benefits:
      This yoga exercise massages all your important digestive organs and forces toxins and waste out into the elimination systems of your body. It also warms up and loosens the lumbar area of the back.

      How it’s done:

      1. Sit on your chair with a straight spine.
      2. Hold on to your knees (if comfortable) or place your hands on thighs.
      3. While keeping your head still, grind your stomach over to your right knee and continue in a big circular motion moving left (counter clockwise). Once you are halfway through start moving in the opposite direction (clockwise).
      4. Visualize drawing a big circle with your navel.
      5. Inhale as your body moves forward and exhale as you move backwards.
      6. Continue for 1 – 3 minutes.
      7. To end inhale, exhale, and relax.

      3. Spinal Twist

      Meditation_SpinalFlex

        Benefits:
        This exercise promotes flexibility in your entire back and massages the inner organs. It also opens up the heart center and stimulates the upper spine.

        How it’s done:

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        1. Sit with a tall spine.
        2. Grab your shoulders, with the thumbs in back and the fingers in front.
        3. Keep your elbows high, with your arms parallel to the ground.
        4. Inhale as you twist the head and torso to the left.
        5. Exhale as you twist to the right.
        6. Keep repeating with a powerful breath for 1 – 3 minutes.
        7. To end inhale facing straight forward, exhale and relax.

        4. Shoulder shrugs

        Meditation_ShoulderShrugs

          Benefits:
          This exercise releases tension in the shoulders. Opens the upper spine and energizes the heart and throat centers.

          How it’s done:

          1. Sit on your chair with a straight spine.
          2. Hold on to your knees (if comfortable) or place your hands on thighs.
          3. Inhale and shrug your shoulders up towards your ears.
          4. Exhale and drop the shoulders down.
          5. Continue rhythmically with powerful breathing for 1 – 2 minutes.
          6. To end inhale, exhale and relax.

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          5. Neck Rolls

          Meditation_NeckRoll

            Benefits:
            This exercise releases tension in the neck and shoulders, stimulates the thyroid, and promotes better blood flow to the brain.

            How it’s done:

            1. Sit on your chair with a straight spine.
            2. Hold on to your knees (if comfortable) or place your hands on your thighs.
            3. Begin rolling the neck clockwise in a circular motion, bringing the right ear toward the right shoulder, the back of the head toward the back of the neck, the left ear toward the left shoulder and the chin towards the chest.
            4. The shoulders remain relaxed and motionless and the neck should be allowed to gently stretch as the head circles around.
            5. Continue for 1 or 2 minutes, then reverse the direction and continue for 1 or 2 minutes more.
            6. To end, bring the head to a central position and relax.

            Featured photo credit: Binary Koala via flickr.com

            More by this author

            Kelly Weiss

            Purpose-driven business + lifestyle coach

            5 Steps to Choosing Expansive New Year’s Resolutions How to make decisions from a place of love rather than fear The Most Common Marketing Challenge Small Businesses Face And How To Solve It 5 Ways To Cultivate Inner Peace 5 Meditative Chair Exercises Guaranteed To Promote Work Productivity

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            Published on February 17, 2020

            How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World

            How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World

            In this digital era, distractions can seem impossible to avoid. Just figuring out how to stay focused on your goals and ambitions can feel as difficult as actually achieving them.

            These days, constant distractions can lead to a massive loss in productivity.

            Statistics show that employees, on average, waste 28% of their time dealing with and trying to recover from unnecessary interruptions.[1]

            And that’s at work, where you’re paid to be productive, and where some of us are monitored too much or too closely for comfort.

            So, one can only imagine how much time is lost or wasted when we are left to our own devices.

            A World of Distractions

            Speaking of devices, how many times have you grabbed your cell phone at the very moment you hear a notification, wasting precious time scrolling through social media when you should be using that time working on your goals?

            I can bet a lot.

            But we’ve all been there.

            Sometimes, even with the best of intentions and efforts to stay on task, we still find ourselves being chronically distracted.

            Chances are you’ll be interrupted before you can even finish reading this article.

            The reality is as undeniable as it is unavoidable: we live in a world full of distractions!

            But how can you take back control of your time and attention to avoid these distractions and learn how to stay focused on your goals?

            There are several strategies for overcoming distractions and reclaiming your focus, such as avoiding social media, prioritizing emails, meditation and more.

            You can read about them in detail in our article, How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide).

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            Some of these methods have been discussed ad nauseam. But one method in particular hasn’t been talked about enough.

            How to Stay Focused on Your Goals

            Your Environment Is a Major Factor

            Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us are mostly a product of our environment. Our environment impacts us far more than we realize.

            It’s made of a multitude of things, from the space we live and work in, to the people we spend the most time with, to the things we read, listen to, and watch, to even our profiles on social media, and more.

            All of these elements of our surroundings influence our focus, thoughts, mindset, belief systems, and the goals and standards we set for ourselves. They all serve as triggers for certain behaviors, tendencies, and moods. That’s how many of our habits are formed.

            We’ll always take on aspects of the environments we continually place ourselves in.

            Willpower and Motivation Is a Broken Approach

            What a lot of people have gotten wrong about trying to achieve their goals is that they often focus only on what needs to be done and how to get it done – outcomes and willpower.

            Many think that willpower and motivation in their own right determine success.

            While both are great and necessary virtues to have to navigate this increasingly difficult world, willpower is largely a short-term solution, while motivation is great to get you started but is also fleeting.

            This is one of the main reasons why so many people’s New Year’s resolutions go belly-up by the end of January.

            Your willpower is like a muscle, which means it’s finite and will deplete with use. [2]

            Using the willpower approach to stay focused on goals centers on increasing personal efforts to overcome the environment, not on modifying or changing the environment.

            The harsh reality is that your environment is more powerful than your internal resolve. No matter how much discipline you have, eventually, you’ll succumb to your environment despite your greatest efforts.

            Setting Yourself up for Success

            In an environment that’s incompatible with your goals, its negative influence will sabotage your success.

            On the other hand, a compatible environment is one of the most important strategies you can utilize to stay focused on achieving your goals.

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            Creating an environment that is conducive to success will trigger your desired behaviors and, most importantly, will decrease distractions.

            Inevitability Thinking

            In fact, productivity expert Eben Pagan believes that designing the right environment will create conditions that make it impossible for you not to achieve your goals.

            The multi-millionaire, entrepreneur, and investor regards this as the next evolution of goal-setting that will move us away from focusing on willpower and outcomes.

            He calls this concept “Inevitability Thinking,” which is thinking and acting as if what you are doing is a foregone conclusion because you set up the conditions for it to happen.

            What he means by “setting up the conditions for success” is designing an environment that’s conducive to you achieving your goals.

            Building Your Environment

            World-renowned leadership coach and author Dr. Marshall Goldsmith believes if a person doesn’t create and control their environment, then it will create and control them.

            He suggests having a vision of achieving the goals you want to accomplish. Then, think about designing the structure of your environment, your situation, or your organization in a way that would organically bring that vision to life.

            “If [you] can design your life [and] behaviors well, [you] don’t need to rely on willpower.” – BJ Fogg, Social Science Research Associate, Stanford [3]

            “But I’m not a designer,” you might be thinking.

            Don’t get intimidated, it can be done – by you or anyone! Designing or modifying your environment so you can better stay focused on your goals is not like designing spaceships – it’s not rocket science.

            Here is how to make it happen.

            How to Stay Focused on Your Goals: Designing Your Environment

            1. Find the Environment That Supports Achieving Your Goals

            Real progress occurs when we fully understand and align with what, whom, and where best support our goals.

            So, the next time you’re in your environment, whether at or outside of work, try to pay attention to how you feel while you’re there. Note if that feeling changes when you leave that environment.

            Examine your surroundings. Look at all the infrastructure and ask yourself these simple questions:

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            • Am I in an environment that’s conducive to me achieving my goals?
            • Is it detrimental to me maintaining my focus on my goals?
            • Is it on par with people who have already achieved what I want to achieve?

            Also, examine your lifestyle and habits. Are you placing yourself in environments and situations that spark personal growth?

            If the answers to these questions are anything but a definite and resounding yes, then you should seriously consider modifying or completely changing your surroundings.

            The more you understand yourself, the more aware you’ll be of the environment that’s most likely to help you stay focused on your goals.

            2. Let Your Goals, Not Distractions, Distract You

            If you constantly lose focus on your goals, you pretty much render them useless. Distractions and interruptions are the biggest culprits of losing your focus.

            One of the most practical ways to maintain focus is to allow your goals to constantly distract you.

            You’ll inevitably lose focus from time to time. But you can limit the number of times it happens and the duration by facilitating your goals to distract you back to your focus.

            Now, how do you do that?

            It’s simple: make visual cues.

            There’s a saying that if you don’t see it, you’ll probably forget it. Science agrees; the eyes hold the majority of sensory receptors in the human body. Therefore, the eye is a major component of focus.

            The following cues are simply things that will trigger you to focus or refocus your attention back onto your goals.

            What type to use will largely depend on what works for you, but below are a few common ones:

            • Tape your task list or habit tracker to your desk or onto your refrigerator at home.
            • Hang motivational posters at frequently visited sections of your house or workspace.
            • Post-Its – write your goals in a one or two-word phrase on them and stick where you’re sure to see them.
            • Set cues to constantly remind you to stick with your productive habits.
            • Digital devices – alter the screensavers of your computer, smartphones, tablets, or any other digital device you use regularly to display something about your goal.

            Read more about how to stay focused on your goals: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

            3. Modify Your Inner Circle

            Multiple studies have proven that our mindset, behaviors, and motivations are largely influenced by our peer group. Therefore, the people in our lives have an enormous impact on our ability to reach our goals.

            “You are the average of the five people you associate with most…” – Tim Ferriss [4]

            Since people have such a significant influence on the direction of your entire life, if you’re really serious about achieving your goals, you may have to adjust your inner circle. This is where designing or modifying your environment for success becomes tricky.

            Unlike upgrading your iPhone, changing the makeup of your inner circle can be a lot more complex.

            One of the most difficult things to do in life is to sever ties with friends, especially against their will, even if it’s for the betterment of the self.

            It will likely foster resentment because it will require you to betray the very virtue that served as the keystone of the friendship in the first place: loyalty.

            But we must remember that above all else, when we set important personal goals, we must be loyal to ourselves if we are to achieve them. Loyalty to friends, family, or even to your spouse that is detrimental to your success in life will only slow your growth.

            By consciously deciding whom you want in your inner circle, you are taking control of the ultimate direction of your life.

            4. Change Your Environment Completely

            This method is the most extreme, but it can also be the most effective.

            While modifying your environment for it to become less distracting is ideal, sometimes it’s just not enough. Certain elements in your environment, such as your social circle, are harder than others to modify. In fact, some elements that are nearly impossible to adjust.

            There are times when these elements are so out of your control that the only thing you can do to stay focused on your goals is to make more radical and thorough changes. This can mean changing your environment completely.

            Here are some examples of changes you could try to make (only if necessary):

            1. Change your physical possessions (ex.: get rid of your TV)
            2. Create a new virtual set-up (online)
            3. Change your physical workspace (work, home, co-working, cafes, etc.)
            4. Join a new social group
            5. Change locations (home, co-working space, café, etc.)
            6. Change jobs or switch branches
            7. Drop distracting friends or family from your inner circle.
            8. Change your spouse
            9. Move to a different country

            Of course, these are some extreme steps to take. So, only resort to these if you have tried everything else to stay focused on your goals but are still unsuccessful.

            Conclusion

            If you’re struggling to figure out how to stay focused on your goals, it’s a lot harder to make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of your environment.

            By taking control of the set-up of your environment, you can influence your levels of motivation, enthusiasm, drive, and desire towards the goals you have set.

            Optimizing your environment creates powerful conscious and subconscious motivators that make staying focused on your goals easier. And for many of us, easier is always better.

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            More Tips on Goal Setting

            Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Information Overload Research Group: The Cost of Not Paying Attention – How Interruptions Impact Knowledge Worker Productivity
            [2] American Psychological Association Study: Willpower, choice, and self-control
            [3] BJ Fogg on Twitter: @bjfogg
            [4] GoodReads: Timothy Ferriss: Quotable Quotes

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