You will spend a staggering 90,000 hours at work throughout your life. This often cited estimate, dating back to 2011, does not include the post-pandemic shift towards remote work and the blurred boundaries between our professional and personal lives. 

In today’s always-on culture, characterized by hustle and burnout, it is crucial to adopt science-backed strategies that promote both physical and mental wellbeing during work, safeguarding us against exhaustion and ensuring that these 90,000 hours contribute to, and not detract from, our overall health and happiness.

Cultivating healthy workday habits, like mindfulness, yields both short and long-term benefits like supporting concentration, making better decisions, and maintaining baseline resilience in the face of challenges. With Oura, it is easy to add this grounding practice into your working hours. 

Mindfulness & Meditation: Similar yet Distinct

What Is Mindfulness?

At its core, mindfulness revolves around attentiveness and being immersed in any given moment or task. It signifies a non-critical awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, and sensations, focusing intentionally on the present while steering clear of distractions or biases. By establishing a bond with the present, mindfulness enables you to fully participate in the present, untethered by past burdens or future anxieties. Mindfulness techniques are a valuable tool for managing the challenges of modern life, at work and at home.

What Is Meditation? 

Meditation is a practice that involves training the mind to achieve a state of ease and openness. Through meditation, you can develop awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and sensations, and learn to observe them without judgment. Meditation may reduce stress, improve cognitive function, enhance emotional wellbeing, and promote a sense of inner peace and balance. 

The Differences Between the Two

Mindfulness and meditation are closely related practices that share similarities while also having distinct differences. Both involve intentional awareness and focused attention, but mindfulness is typically about being present in the moment, while meditation often involves specific techniques aimed at calming the mind and achieving a particular state. 

Mindfulness can be practiced in various settings, such as during daily activities, whereas meditation is often done in a designated time and space. Both mindfulness and meditation offer benefits, making them complementary practices that can be used in combination or separately for personal growth and self-care, in the workplace and beyond.

Oura members can find meditations and mindfulness exercises in the Explore Tab, and get instant biofeedback on how they affect your body, in the Oura App. 

Read more about breathing exercises for relaxation and meditation for healthy sleep.

Practicing Mindfulness During the Workday

There is a growing body of research that suggests when we pause briefly during the workday to practice mindfulness, including meditation, we reap benefits. A 2018 systematic review on the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on employees’ mental health suggests that mindfulness practices may help to improve psychological functioning in employees. Researchers noted reduced levels of emotional exhaustion (which plays a role in burnout), stress, occupational stress, and more. They also identified improvements in personal accomplishment, self-compassion, quality of sleep, and relaxation.

In 2019, another group of researchers linked an 8 week, 13 minute daily meditation practice to decreases in anxiety and fatigue, enhanced attention, and improved working and recognition memory.

Oura members can visit the Explore Tab in their Oura App to choose from breathing exercises and guided or unguided meditation sessions that range in length from 5 to 30 minutes. Use these to take a moment to pause and relax during the workweek, or to support healthy sleep at the end of the workday.

Sessions lasting longer than five minutes will provide post-session biofeedback. This means you can see how your body responds to meditation during the workday in real time, including heart rate, heart rate variability, and skin temperature. 

Measuring heart rate variability, or HRV, can provide valuable insights into your stress levels. HRV refers to the variation in time intervals between consecutive heartbeats and serves as an indicator of the body’s autonomic nervous system activity. By monitoring HRV, you can gain a deeper understanding of your stress response and choose mindfulness practices to help maintain a healthy oulook and a promote a sense of calm during stressful time. 

Read more about how you can use HRV to manage stress.

Get Started

Whether you’re adopting a new healthy habit or reigniting your meditation routine, it’s important to be kind to yourself and allow for some leeway. Begin by setting an achievable goal, such as incorporating three brief meditation sessions (3-5 minutes each) into your workweek.

Consider the impact these sessions have on your days. Do you feel more focused, centered, and less overwhelmed? Experiment with different timings, such as meditating in the morning before the workday kicks off, before and after meetings, or as a way to transition and set boundaries at the end of your workday. By exploring various options, you’ll find the meditation practices that resonate best with you and support your overall wellbeing.

Remember, being a professional can be fast-paced and demanding. If you miss a day or have a rough session where your mind wanders a lot, it’s okay. Consider trying again later or the next day. As world-renowned meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein encourages, simply begin again.

Working Well

Work factors significantly into the course of our life, and we invest an enormous portion of our life into our jobs. This reality nudges us to consider how health may be impacted by work, and how work may be impacted by health. How you prioritize wellbeing at work may profoundly impact your health over a lifetime. Use Oura at work, and incorporate mindfulness into your workday, to stay feeling great. 

Meet the Neuroscientist Who Uses HRV to Measure the Brain-Body Connection

Could your workplace benefit from a new approach to wellbeing? Make wellness measurable, actionable, and attainable for individuals and organizations with Oura For Business.


Pryce-Jones, Jessica. Happiness at work: Maximizing your psychological capital for success. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.