Meditation at the desk

By Virginia Warren|22 February 2018

“Mediation? At the desk? Aren’t I supposed to calmly arrange myself in a serene space, eyes closed, cross-legged on the floor while chanting ‘om’?” Ok, I can feel your scepticism right there. Most of you are wondering how it could be remotely possible to accomplish all of this at your desk, writes Virginia Warren.

After all, you can barely find your coffee under all those files. Now I do realise that some of you will have desks in offices conducive to a beautiful meditation space: palm trees swaying within window view, ambient lighting, relaxation music, and a “do not disturb” command firmly and conspicuously placed so others dare not breach your moment. That fantastical luxury is not afforded to the majority of us.

So I’m here to explain, while that envied picture of peacefulness would be one ideal scenario, to feel the benefits of meditation you do not have to first perform an office upgrade. Your desk, in whatever location or state of disarray in which it presently appears, will do nicely.

One of the purposes behind meditation is to settle our thoughts. It is said that we deal with around 70,000 thoughts each and every day! That astounding fact aside, my guess is that your particular thoughts can be easily categorised into personal thoughts and those relating to your work. Personal thoughts, generally involve our families, friends, and how we’re going to lose 2kg by the weekend.


Thoughts relating to our work have us engaging in mental gymnastics as we strategise favourable outcomes for our clients, all the while making out the most convincing arguments to impress our opposition.

All thoughts can have a range of emotions attached to them. If they’re uplifting thoughts, then that’s great, you’re in your happy place and I’ll have one of what you’re having. It’s the emotions arising from those negative thoughts, however, which will ultimately manifest unwanted ailments within your body. If you’re at the lighter end of the negativity scale for instance, you might manifest a headache, shoulder tension, or other niggle. As for more sinister outcomes … well, I don’t need to list the maladies that science tells us we potentially expose ourselves to, as cortisol, the “stress hormone” seeps its way in, taking quiet command of each cell of your body. Trust me, it tiptoes!

Now, it is a sad fact that we love to wallow in and champion our negative thoughts, examining them from every angle as valid problems that need our immediate brain space. Equally, we readily dismiss the positive thoughts we have as cruel jokes. If this sounds like you, then desk meditation can be the metaphorical shot in the arm you are looking for. All that’s needed to achieve some relief, is to create some space between our thoughts. Just a moment in time that our minds stop sending negative messages to our bodies. Just one moment. Now and then.

At our desk, this is easy to achieve. Despite that negative thought that you’ve just created, you can do this. Make it a habit. For instance, after you’ve finished with a client, in person, or on a phone call, write that file note and then close your eyes. It’s okay, no-one can see you because you can’t see them *wink*.

Take a deep breath in through your nose and follow that breath all the way down to your belly. Make it deep. Release that breath. Follow that one breath all the way out until you can no longer expel any more breath. Feel your shoulders relax, falling away from your ears. While you are deeply absorbed in that short exercise, you have carved out some quietude. The breath has just calmed your body, lowered your blood pressure and created that elusive space between your thoughts.


Who knew that breath and desks could such be powerful allies?

Virginia Warren spends her working hours as a partner at Stidston Warren Lawyers in Mornington and is grateful to enjoy the stunning Mornington Peninsula as both her home and the backdrop to her workplace. She is a qualified yoga teacher, registered with Yoga Australia, and volunteers her time instructing the yoga curious. In her spare time, she is endeavouring to emulsify the practice of law with yogic principles. In order to do this, she wears a cape.

Meditation at the desk
Intro image
lawyersweekly logo
Big Law


Media, journalists face trial over exposing George Pell trial

Risk of privacy class actions heightened in wake of COVID-19

Legal employers should review arrangements with casual workers

Law professor appointment to Balnaves chair in Constitutional Law

Recommended by Spike Native Network