With all the hubbub of the daily grind, it can be tough to change gears to mindfulness on a quick break. That's why we have meditation "prompts." They'll help you achieve your goal of clearing your mind as you sit quietly and ease into a more mindful state. As Arianna Huffington wrote in "Thrive," "Meditation is not about stopping thoughts, but recognizing that we are more than our thoughts and our feelings."
To ease into the flow, you may want to use prompts from a number of sources, or mix and match. These can be anything from an idea, verse, bit of poetry, snippet or even a very brief story. Like prompts for essays or get-to-know-you conversations, these are just meant to get you going. Once you start meditating, the narrative becomes your own. Even if you haven't had formal training in meditation, you may be able to tap into mindfulness with any of these prompt sources.
Relaxation to Deal with Anger, a free guided script by Inner Health Studio
All guided imagery can "be used to visualize positive actions, changes, or accomplishments," according to Inner Health Studio. One of the most useful prompts helps a nurse (or anyone in a stress-filled medical setting) cope with anger. Part of the script here includes the words, "It's okay to be angry. Just allow yourself to feel however it is you are feeling right now, noticing this feeling, but not reacting just yet. All you're doing is observing. Emotions are neither right nor wrong... they just are."
Professional Distance and Empathy, a free guided script by Inner Health Studio
This script pledges to help you keep professional distance and empathy simultaneously. A sample phrase: "Notice the minute changes that occur as your muscles gradually let go of tension. Without any effort at all, the tension slowly disappears...releasing...relaxing..."
Yes, it's a little odd to think of a business magazine and meditation together. But this set of prompts helps you become mindful about self-worth and setting goals in a non-stressful way, which is one great way to use your breaks. Sample wording: "Think about how you're feeling today in the moment. Are you tired or energetic? If you feel like you have low energy, what might be draining it? Consider what might be causing you to lose sleep or is taking too much of your mental space."
7 Writing Prompts for Mindfulness by Dave Ursillo
If journaling is more your style, these seven-minutes-or-less mindfulness prompts will even work at work.
Dealing with Rejection or Failure, a free guided script by Inner Health Studio
With any luck, you won't need a meditation prompt because you're feeling like a failure that often. But when you do, this one serves well, with words like, "Now examine the thoughts that go along with your emotions. Picture the event when you experienced rejection or failure. What kinds of things were you saying to yourself during and after?"
This is for a less-structured meditation. If you just have a quick break and want a little inspiration to keep going for the rest of the shift, choosing from these brief stories that honor nurses and the patients who affect them can help you redirect your thoughts and energies. Some of them are amusing, so the lift may come from laughter.