How I Hacked my Coffee Break and Got Control of my Anger
Hi. My name is Angie and I’m a recovering rage-aholic.
I can’t even tell you how I used to act, it was abysmal. Central to my recovery was practicing mindfulness meditation at least 10 minutes a day. We all know about the links between optimizing your mental health and daily meditation. But, many struggle to do it consistently. This is the story of how this hot mess, did just that.
So… how did I recover from my rage?
I stumbled upon a hack that made that transition much easier. It works so well for me I want to share it with you! Even though it’s only 10-15 minutes a day, where do you find the time? Some people just wake up 10 minutes early. I tried that, eventually I started snoozing (like a human being who is not a marine). I also tried after work, meditation apps, bath time meditation, and a bunch of other stuff, too.
But here is what finally did work for me: meditating through my coffee break.
Monday through Friday I work in an office like many of you who may be reading this. I get a 15-minute morning break. I used to work through it since I didn’t really “need” a break, and I always have loads of work I need to complete if I don’t want to stay late. But I decided for the sake of my mental health to start taking this break religiously at 9am every day. At first, honestly, I felt guilty. My thought was that if anyone knew I was sitting in my car for my “mental health” they would roll their eyes and judge me for being a shirker. But as long as people are allowed to take smoke breaks, I decided I can take a mindfulness break and I won’t feel bad about it!
By meditating during a work break, especially one I wasn’t used to taking, it no longer felt like a time vampire. When you need to steal time for your mental health, steal it from someone else. Some dude once told me it could take as long as 20 minutes before the mind starts to quiet down so you can get into the present moment and really benefit from your meditation. But I only have a short break, like everyone else. Through trial and error, I developed a little routine that helps me get into my meditation head space faster so I can stay in it longer and really feel those bennies.
5 tips for getting the most out of your mindfulness break
1. Where do you meditate at work?
I’ve found the backseat of my Subaru Outback is my sweet spot. I have privacy, it’s quiet and there’s room to sit cross-legged. This might not be an option for you though. So here is where you need to get creative.
2. Add Music!
I really like the Zen Garden channel on Pandora.
3. Incorporate a book
Before I begin, I read a passage from a wisdom book (i.e. Deepack Chopra, Eckhart Tolle etc.) aloud to myself and contemplate it. This helps me set my intentions.
4. Hot Tea Technique
I bring a cup of hot tea and take a sip just before meditating. Focusing my attention on the sensory experience of the hot liquid passing into me. This awakens me to the present moment.
5. A Pro Tip on timing your actual meditation
Many like to use the timer feature on their iPhone, but I found I was anticipating that impending alarm, taking me out of the present moment. Try using Stopwatch instead, that way you decide when you’re ready to stop.
In the beginning, I was unsure how often I would do this routine. So, I did it every day, at first, out of fear to be honest. Afraid that if I didn’t do it, I could have an angry outburst. So I guess you could say part of the reason I was able to sustain my habit this time, in addition to the coffee break hack, is that I was also properly motivated. After a while passed and I’d had no outbursts, my fear began to subside. But, by then I had developed a habit! I saw results right away. I started taking extra care in my interactions with my partner, and he in turn took extra care with me. Considerate actions breed reciprocation. I found myself leaning away from sarcasm and fiery tones at work too. I started using loving speech and employing deep listening when others were talking. I started this process to try and fix something I didn’t like about myself. But what I’ve discovered through sitting alone and being quiet is self-acceptance.
I do have a seed of anger within me. And it’s okay if it’s there, as long as I don’t water it.