Reducing Work Stress with Meditation
With the corporate culture and stress of working in medium-to-large-sized companies, meditation is a great form of relaxation and good mental health.
To reduce work stress with meditation:
Practice mindfulness to increase your present awareness and to instantly relax your mind in the workplace.
Do a body scan meditation by focusing and release of tension in different parts of your body.
Learn transcendental meditation (TM) from a TM instructor to de-stress and increase your work performance.
A step-by-step approach of each of these meditation techniques along with regular practice can not only help you to relax more at work, but can also greatly improve your quality of life.
Meditation Techniques for Stress Relief
Offices and work spaces can be places of constant work, noise and activity. When combined with work politics, critical project deadlines or petty conflicts among co-workers, this can take a heavy toll on a person’s mental and emotional well being.
Therefore, meditation is a way to quietly take a few minutes away to de-stress and to emerge with calm and renewed energy without disturbing others in the workplace.
Mindfulness involves putting a full stop to all physical or mental activity and instead focusing all your mind’s awareness in the present moment in a quiet room or place. This begins with a calm focus on one’s breath with each cycle of deep inhalation and exhalation.
It can initially feel strange or new in the beginning, but as you practice mindfulness regularly, the benefits will soon be incredible.
The mind is usually a chatterbox and there are multiple thoughts going through the mind every day, hour and minute. By simply interrupting these constant stream of thoughts and instead calming the mind to a single focus on the breath, a great sense of relaxation and mental expansion will occur.
Body Scan Meditation
The body scan meditation is frequently taught by spiritual gurus and masters as part of a guided meditation routine. If you have any such guided meditation audio that is focused on relaxing individual bodily parts, you can play that audio as you sit quietly and follow the guru’s voice suggestions.
Individual muscles in the brain, neck, shoulders, facial muscles and muscles in other parts of the body unconsciously hold stiffness from the memory of various stresses in the course of the day. So this technique is a way to individually focus on each of those bodily muscles with mental suggestions of loosening and relaxation.
In case you do not have any such guided health-focused meditation audio, you can simply sit comfortably in a quiet room, start with a breathing routine and then voluntarily target and relax muscles in each part of the body one-at-a-time starting with the head and moving down. You may optionally have a calming meditation video on YouTube playing as you practice this body scan meditation yourself.
This method is based on reciting a mantra, word or phrase while slowing and calming the breath. The process begins with a focus on longer breath and once the breath is calm and long, the mantra is recited internally in the mind.
For TM to work effectively, it’s important to initially work with a TM instructor who will guide the student over a period of a few days or weeks with proper technique and also answer questions and address and concerns the student might have.
In the US, certified TM instructors can be found by registering at TM.org and many countries all over the world have their own dedicated TM website for locating certified TM instructors and for connecting with a community of TM meditators.
During the class, there is also an overview given of the benefits of TM and a history of how TM has helped millions of people to lead productive and happy lives.
The technique was popularized by Maharishi Yogi in the 1960s and 1970s and is considered very simple such that anyone can learn to practice TM. It’s considered natural, calming, easy and effortless to practice.
Benefits of Meditation in the Workplace
Some people are able to relax by playing relaxing music, but in some places of work, using the headphone or playing music loudly is discouraged as some employers and managers believe that it can interfere with regular business activities and customer communication.
So this makes meditation a more perfect solution for relaxation in the workplace as it can be practiced quietly without disturbing anyone else. Most meditation techniques can be effectively practiced in about 15 to 20 mins and most meditation sessions last less than 30 minutes.
Effects of Meditation On The Body
Meditation is popularly known to reduce blood pressure and also to reduce heart rates. This is currently recognized by many hospitals for good heart health as found from the many customer experiences on TM.org.
Personally, whenever I practice meditation, my breathing becomes more deep and relaxed. I also feel a greater expansion and relaxation in my mind, and thoughts become more focused and relaxed.
Many people have experienced benefits from the practice of Transcendental meditation. Celebrities such as Katy Perry, Paul McCarthy and Tom Brady have had very positive experiences with transcendental meditation.
The David Lynch Foundation has published the results of a study from the American Medical Association on the benefits for heart health for people who practice transcendental meditation. Benefits of meditation have also been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
How Much Can Meditation Reduce Stress?
Stress has been widely understood as contributing to many critical health issues in the body and many such issues have been greatly reduced or minimized by the practice of transcendental meditation.
The US National Institute of Health has published research on TM that state among its many benefits the reduction in blood pressure, reduced stress, lowering of high cholesterol and so on.
In this Ellen DeGeneres show highlighted in TM.org, the head of the David Lynch Foundation shares details of how TM is benefits many people in all walks of life to lead happier and healthier lives.
They spoke about how our daily lives have become more stressful than ever and how TM meditation is helping thousands of adults and even children in schools to reduce their stress, and to be more calm and relaxed.
How Can I Reduce Anxiety Immediately?
When a generally healthy person is anxious, it is always helpful to practice some deep and calm breathing for a few minutes after sitting in a comfortable and quiet place, without any outside noises or any other kinds of disturbances.
So the first step is always to step away from all the noises, sit comfortably and to breathe for a few minutes. Mindfulness by simply closing the eyes and staying in the present mentally without judgement has also been known to reduce anxiety.
The Berkeley Greater Good Magazine describes mindfulness as a way of maintaining awareness of one’s thoughts, sensations and environment in a calm manner, and without any judgement whatsoever of right or wrong thoughts, but simply the awareness and observation of one’s thoughts.
Therefore, mindfulness is a technique which can be practiced by anyone as long as s/he is in a quiet and comfortable place while practicing the technique.
What Are Some Ways To Reduce Stress at Work?
Most people spend an average of 8 to 9 hours at work most weekdays. There tend to be many demands on one’s time at work, many distractions and periodic work deadlines that need to be met. All of this can add up considerably and create a feeling of stress and lack of adequate rest.
In addition to this, maintaining social relationships at work, occasional competition and hierarchies, and even personal lives can add up to make people’s lives even more unmanageable.
In case you’re unable to find a quiet place for a few minutes at work, simply go to the parking area, drive to a comfortable and calm location, park the car and then go sit in the back seat. You can also choose to move the front seats as much as possible forward so you have enough leg space in the back seats.
Or if you don’t enjoy sitting in the car, simply choose a nearby quiet park close to your workplace.
Upon doing this, simply practice mindfulness or simple deep breathing for about 10 to 20 minutes, In most likelihood, you will step out of your car completely relaxed and refreshed after this exercise.
If you have already learnt to do TM meditation from a certified TM practitioner, you can simply practice TM during this time. During lunch break or anytime before eating are generally preferable for meditation. Most people feel a bit thirsty or hungry right after meditation, so be sure to carry a bottle of water and perhaps a small sandwich to have after the meditation session.
Or if you just need a small break at a time other than your lunch break, simply step out for about 10 to 15 mins and practice meditation in the comfort of your car in a quiet parking area at work or in a nearby parking lot.
MUSIC AT WORK
When work demands are very high and stressful, I’ve often found it to be joyful and relaxing to have calm music playing on my headphones. There is usually a wide range and types of music available in YouTube and in many online radio networks.
If you have a longer commute, be sure to carry your favorite CDs with you to play while driving in your car to work. Some motivational Tony Robins CDs or even classical music can be a joy to the ear and to the mind while driving.
Different people have varying music preferences, so go ahead and choose your favorite music for your ride to work from home. The ride back home can be equally relaxing with similar music or CDs.
In case you use public transit for work, just carry your smartphone along with your favorite music for your ride to and from work.
Taking a short walk and getting some fresh air can help a great deal when you’ve been stuck in a small office for hours. Some people like to walk alone and others prefer walking in the company of their favorite friend/colleague.
If you can afford to take about an hour’s break and enjoy the gym, simply head over to your nearby gym for a 30 min of treadmill, exercise bike and resistance training. Simply flexing your muscles with weights and resistance can loosen up a lot of those tense muscles.
I usually find it refreshing to take a quick shower after a good workout at the gym. You can also carry a small towel and change of clothes, or simply put on on your earlier work clothes after a quick shower.
Meditation at Work Desk
If you are having a hard time taking a break from work and are still craving some rest to de-stress, a mental body scan meditation is worth a try. Just choose a soothing scenery or picture and keep it in front of you on your desk.
Be sure to choose a time when the office is more quiet and when you’re not likely to be disturbed. If you have the luxury of a private office room, you can put out a sign to not be disturbed for about 10 minutes or so.
Next, one by one, focus your mental attention on every part of your body and all your bodily sensations. When in doubt, simply choose a video on YouTube that describes how to do a complete body scan meditation before you begin.
Start with your feet and go one by one to all parts of the body and observe all the minute sensations all the way until you get to your head. Right before and after the body scan meditation, you can also practice some deep breathing.