Illustration by Scott Bakal
In 1989 Pamela Weiss quit her office job to spend a summer at a Buddhist monastery outside Carmel, California. That summer turned into two years and, eventually, a new title: Zen Buddhist monk.
Now Weiss offers mindfulness workshops to corporations like Genentech and Twitter through her company, Appropriate Response. Weiss, 49, believes that "bringing your whole self to work—mind, heart, and body—helps you find the best response to a situation." (Better than, say, firing off an angry e-mail after a heated meeting or stressing out before a big deadline.) Here, she shares four ways to infuse your cubicle with calm.
Find your footing: Next time you're feeling overwhelmed, press your feet against the floor. "By establishing a strong physical foundation, you bring a sense of balance to the body," says Weiss.
Become a beginner: If you find yourself in an argument, don't argue—instead, start asking questions. "By being inquisitive, you uncover new ways of seeing," explains Weiss. "That helps you get past roadblocks."
Name your mood: Work can leave you frazzled—but there's a way to put your feelings in perspective. Every hour write down one word summarizing your state of mind. "At the end of the day, review your list," suggests Weiss. "You'll see that even the worst feelings don't last."
Let it go: Before leaving the office, imagine a box. Place the day's events inside, then visualize it floating away. Says Weiss, "Releasing these thoughts lets you engage wholeheartedly at home."
More Advice for Starting the New Year
From the January 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!