Finding zen in your workspace can go a long way towards relieving work stress and anxiety. See our easy meditation tips here.
If you’re not careful, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of modern life. In today’s society, our work, daily lives, and interpersonal interactions with others have become more fast-paced than ever before in human history.
According to data from the OECD, American workers are some of the most overworked people in the world 1.
In addition, the American Psychological Association has also recognized stress as a national epidemic in America. Its 2020 Stress in America report found that adults of all demographics in America were facing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety. That said, it can definitely be helpful to take some time each day to meditate and relieve stress.
In this article, we examine what meditation is, the health benefits it can bring, and the steps you can take to start meditating in the office.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a common term that you might have heard being used rather loosely in an everyday context. To the uninitiated, it might seem like everyone from wellness practitioners to yoga instructors tout meditation as an all-purpose solution to anxiety and stress.
Nonetheless, the key elements of meditation can effectively be distilled down. Meditation can be generally defined as a specific type of clearly defined technique that involves mental and physical relaxation 2. It is also a self-induced activity, meaning that anyone can start meditating on their own.
What Are the Health Benefits of Meditation?
If you’re new to meditation, you might be wondering if it can really be useful. Understanding the health benefits of meditation can inspire you to start meditating and to stick to a routine at the office. Here are some of the health benefits that you can gain from meditation:
Reduced Stress and Better Moods
Meditation has been proven to reduce stress levels among practitioners. Additionally, people who meditate frequently have been found to react less adversely to stressful situations on a psychological, physiological and neurological level 3.
Improved Attention and Memory
Studies have found that meditation is linked to attention and memory. As a result of the reduced stress levels that they enjoyed, individuals who meditated experienced lower cortisol levels that helped to boost their memory and focus 5.
Improved Physical Condition
In addition to its benefits for your mental health, studies have also found that meditation can have a positive effect on your physical condition. People who meditated regularly were found to experience joint and muscle aches on a less frequent basis 6.
Moreover, clinical trials also found that meditation significantly helped to reduce the blood pressure in candidates with hypertension and elevated blood pressure. This contributed to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and improved cardiovascular health among regular meditators 7.
How to Meditate at Work
Of course, you’re probably wondering if meditation is hard and how you can go about starting a meditation routine. Luckily, meditating at work is relatively straightforward and not too different from meditating at home or anywhere else. Here are some steps that you can follow to start relieving stress in the office:
1. Find a Quiet and Comfortable Location
Studies have shown that environmental stimuli can affect an individual’s ability to focus, and calm environments are beneficial for meditating 8. Thus, as far as possible, start by finding a quiet location in your office where you can enjoy some privacy. If your desk is in a busy environment, consider meditating in an unused office or meeting room.
Your chosen location for meditation should also be one where you can get comfortable. Find a place where you can stretch out or sit up in a relaxed position that you are able to maintain for around 10 to 15 minutes. Being physically comfortable can help you free your mind from distractions and focus fully on meditating.
2. Find a Routine That Works for You
Once you have identified a suitable location in your office to meditate in, you can then find a meditation routine that works for you. Meditation is a highly diverse practice that can take many different forms. Some people prefer to incorporate music or breathing routines into their meditation whereas others may prefer to practice mindfulness and spend time reflecting.
If you’ve never meditated before, it can be useful to start by downloading a meditation or mindfulness app on your mobile device. Such apps contain routines that you can follow and incorporate into your daily routine.
Alternatively, you can also start by practicing a simple routine of rhythmic breathing and focusing on your thoughts for 10 to 15 minutes each day. Once you’ve formed this habit, you can then start adding additional elements to your meditation routine.
3. Keep a Journal of Your Meditation Routine
It can also be beneficial to keep a journal of your meditation routine. Make a record in your journal whenever you complete a session of meditation. Doing so can help you keep yourself accountable and can help you keep track of how often you’re actually meditating.
In addition, you can consider creating a schedule or setting aside some time in your daily routine for meditation. To fully reap the benefits of meditation, it is essential for you to practice it regularly and incorporate it as part of your wellness routine. By sticking to a fixed schedule, you can turn meditating into a daily activity and create a habit for yourself.