As was proven in many studies carried out over the years, meditation has many positive effects on our mental health. It eases stress, improves focus and memory, increases productivity, elevates mood, reduces anxiety, helps with sleep, and many more. It is believed that even 5 minutes of deep breathing and meditation daily can have lasting benefits for your health, and make you feel just as relaxed as holidays would.
Our mental health has a strong impact on every aspect of our lives, on our relationships, the way we view ourselves, and the manner in which we overcome failures and deal with everyday problems, on our ability to learn and memorize new information, as well as on our work performance and even physical health. This is why we should always remember to take care of our mental health, and meditation has been proven through much research to be the cheapest and the easiest way to do it.
Stress and anxiety can affect our lives in the most negative way. In the fast-paced stressful environment that we live in, in which we’re bombarded with negative information by the media every second, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and let worry and nervousness lead the way in your everyday life. Hopefully, with meditation and mindfulness, we can fight off the tension.
As research shows mindful meditation programs that last over an eight-weeks reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and according to another research individuals with a generalised anxiety disorder who participated in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program had a more significant reduction in stress markers than a control group, proving that mindfulness and meditation can change a lot when it comes to stress and anxiety.
Stress and anxiety are often linked to depression, which, according to research, affects around 5% of the population, with 20% of adults ages 65 and older. Depression is a mental health condition that should be treated and talked through with a therapist or other medical professional because untreated it can lead to severe consequences.
Depression can manifest itself in many different ways. Still, some of the most common symptoms are long periods of feeling down and fatigued, feelings of loneliness, lack of interest in activities, the overwhelming need to be left alone, general sadness, sleep problems and trouble concentrating, anxiety and irritability, change in appetite, and even suicidal thoughts. It is a very severe condition and meditation alone won’t make your symptoms vanish, but it may make it easier to deal with them.
The ongoing research suggests that regular meditation can change the manner in which our brain responds to stress and negative thoughts. By learning to be present and notice intrusive thoughts and let them flow freely without focusing on them, one can become more accepting and less criticising towards oneself. Since depression usually involves a lot of dark thoughts, this can help disrupt cycles of negative emotions and bring some remedy to those suffering from it.
Meditation makes you pay attention to certain feelings and emotions and thus it may also make it easier to notice warning signs of depressive episodes, and act accordingly, for example by choosing to focus on self-care more and doing things that usually help ease the symptoms.
Studies on how meditation and mindfulness can help with depression
According to research conducted in 2016, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, an approach to psychotherapy that incorporates mindfulness meditation practices, can help lower your chances of depression relapse.
Another recent researchTrusted Source suggests meditation practices can help improve depression symptoms when you continue to incorporate them into your life. In other words, it may have more benefits as a continued practice than a temporary fix.
There are some findings that suggest that meditation can have a better effect on our brains and bodies than exercise, which is often also recommended when one needs to take care of mental health.
In recent years many companies around the world started paying more attention to their employee’s mental health. Your psychological state, as proven by research, affects all aspects of your life, including your professional life.
The study conducted in 2018 shows that employees’ mental health plays a huge role in job satisfaction, thus nurturing employees’ psychological and social capital, and supporting their mental health, may solve the problem of burnout and help companies retain talented employees, as well as improve their performance, motivation and as mentioned above, their general job satisfaction.
That’s why as employees we should care about employees’ Mental Health, and this is why we, at Profil Software, have implemented some solutions at our office to help employees maintain a calm and mindful mind. We invested in meditation booths and gave our employees unlimited access to the Take3Breaths, Workplace Meditation App. We also invested our resources in a team that underwent Meditation Teacher Training led by the founder of Meditation at The Workplace and the voice behind the Take3Breaths App, Martin Hassall who’s also a certified Meditation Teacher himself. We’re conducting daily meditations at the office and organise events such as relaxing Gong Bath concerts.
If you’re still not sure why you should care about whether your future employer cares about your psychological and physical well-being, let us walk you through a list of reasons.
As was already mentioned, stress can affect all aspects of our everyday lives, and work. It can then lead to severe mental health issues, including depression. For many people, work is the main source of stress and anxiety.
According to research, meditation is one of the most effective ways to control, battle, and even completely eliminate workplace stress. Meditating at work is strongly recommended as it can reduce unwanted stress that may otherwise hinder productivity and focus.
If you’re feeling down or too stressed to focus on your tasks, you may just take five to fifteen minutes off your schedule to find your inner calm and refocus. If you’re working in front of the screen, it is advisable that you take your eyes off the screen for five minutes every hour — you can use that five minutes to do something good for your mental health as well.
Meditation offers many benefits to your health, including boosting your immune system. Research shows that it increases activity in certain parts of the brain that act as command centers for the immune system. Does it seem unbelievable that meditation could have such a strong impact on your physical health?
One of the studies conducted on this subject had 149 people divided into three groups, one that participated in the eight-week meditation program, one that had become a part of an exercise program, and the last one that did neither. The results showed that the meditation and exercise groups missed less work during the flu season with the meditation group missing 16 days in total, the exercise group 32 days, and the one that did neither having as many as 67 sick leave days.
Boosted immunity can help you stay healthy, avoid diseases and infections, and thus make sick leaves less frequent. Having a robust immune system is especially important now during the pandemic, but it’s always advisable to take care of your physical health.
Mindfulness meditation techniques when practiced regularly are known to increase the feeling of happiness and overall satisfaction. It’s hard to be in a good mood when stress and anxiety are affecting your life, which is why once you reduce it with the help of meditation you are bound to become more enthusiastic and optimistic in your day-to-day life. Since it’s been proven that meditation and mindfulness increase endorphins as well — it’s clearly the right path to take if you’re looking for a way to boost your mood.
How does it affect your job?
It’s simple. Our mood affects all aspects of our lives. It can be a source of negative thoughts and a pessimistic overview of our whole life. With stress and anxiety gone and higher levels of the “happy hormone”, your productivity and satisfaction at work will probably also increase significantly.
Meditation can work wonders when it comes to brain functions and brain activity. It has been proven to improve memory capacity. Meditation “increases blood flow to the brain, which leads to a stronger network of blood vessels in the cerebral cortex and reinforces memory capacity. One study that was published by a reputable cognition journal indicated that meditating for 20 minutes a day boosts memory and concentration.”
Mindfulness meditation can enhance your awareness and improve your ability to focus and concentrate without getting distracted. If you work in a fast-paced environment, it may be crucial for your job performance to be able to focus and be able to avoid getting distracted.
Moreover, many of us don’t even realize how often we use creativity in our work lives. No matter what industry you work in, there is a high chance that to achieve some goals at your work, you need to get creative with the way you do things or think about them. For some of us creativity may mean the way you present some items in the store, sometimes it can be the arraignment of meetings and tasks, and sometimes it’s writing or managing the time for kids in daycare.
So, whatever you do, you may be interested in enhancing your creativity, and meditation is a sure way to do this since it reduces the rigidity of the mind and inspires divergent thinking.
It can help you solve difficult problems creatively and innovate bold ideas that can benefit your organization.
Another huge benefit of meditation is that by reducing stress, heightening awareness, and increasing concentration, meditation can help us make better decisions in life and work. Excellent decision-making skills are crucial in organizations, and meditation can aid you in working on this skill.
We’ve talked about how meditation can improve both your private and work life, but how does meditation at work specifically can be more beneficial than meditating at home?
At Profil Software we believe that meditating as a group in the office promotes mental health and wellness in the workplace, supports team-building and fosters workplace harmony and good relationships between coworkers. We think that if one wants to develop a sense of unity among their employees and help them build meaningful work relationships, it is necessary to give them the space, resources and all the support that they might need, and among other things, one can achieve this by giving the employees’ the space and time for group meditation. To ease people into meditating together, the employer might use the help of a meditation teacher.
Meditating together and improvements in work relationships will lead to better teamwork, communication, and productivity.
If you’re an employer, it is also advisable to join in to practice meditation at work with your team as it can help you become a better leader. It can help you cultivate emotional intelligence, develop self-awareness, and enhance your decision-making skills as well as build a stronger relationship with your employees. Meditation is fast becoming a growing trend among leaders worldwide, and many of them practice it daily.
Some of the tips on how to start meditating at work are the same as for all the other meditations. Things such as finding the right quiet place with no distractions, scheduling the time in your schedule regardless of how busy it is, turning off notifications and getting comfortable, or counting your breaths.
It may all look a little different when you do it at home since it’s probably easier to find the right spot or to make sure that nobody interrupts you. If your workplace doesn’t have a designated meditating space, you may try finding an empty room, perhaps a conference one or go outside, use your car or the bathroom, or even simply stay at your desk if this sounds like something that could work for you.
It’s good to schedule your meditation at exactly the same time every day — it’s easier to build a habit this way, and it may also give your coworkers an idea of when not to interrupt you. Once you have the time and the right spot for your meditation, you should try getting comfortable. It’s important to find a good position in which you’ll be able to stay for a few minutes without feeling pain or being restricted by your clothes.
If you found a private, quiet spot and made sure that you can sit comfortably uninterrupted for a few minutes, now it’s time to focus. The easiest way to engage in mindfulness meditation, especially when you don’t have too much time, is by focusing on your breath. Close your eyes and focus on that, on the even, rhythmic breathing.
First, you may want to, take three deep breaths. Count every breath in your mind, and focus on how it feels when the air fills your lounges, and then leaves slowly. Then after taking these three deep breaths, shift your breath to how you would normally breathe, and, take a few more breaths like this, counting to ten.
This technique is great for beginners and those who want to improve their concentration. It’s always good to shift your focus to breathing at the beginning of your meditation, even if you want to follow it up with some other technique.
If you wish to deepen your meditation, you may shift focus to your senses and your body. Turn your attention to the feeling of your body, the pressure of your feet on the floor, scan your body from head to toe, bringing awareness to different parts of it, acknowledging them and relaxing.
After scanning your body, you may shift your attention outwards to all the sounds you can hear while you’re sitting. Acknowledge the sounds around you, and witness them without doing anything about them.
All this will help you feel more grounded and relaxed.
Repeating a mantra or using your imagination to visualize something are also recommended meditation techniques for the office. Both shift your focus away from work-related subjects and stress and may help you relax even more deeply. Visualizing is a good technique for reconnecting with the present moment and finding inner peace, whereas the right mantra can help you overcome fears and increase motivation.
Visualization may seem difficult at first, but it can even be as simple as imagining yourself sitting by a stream or on the beach. As you’re sitting by the sea or a stream, just notice how beautiful the blue water is, imagine the sound of waves, and visualize the bright sand under your toes.
Watch as the sound dances with the wind or as a leaf drifts to you in the water, brought by the waves. Let your imagination flow — don’t force yourself to imagine just one leaf either, you can imagine as many details as you want. Don’t get annoyed if your imagination brings you something you didn’t intend for it to bring, just notice it, be aware of it, and let it be.
When it comes to mantras you may use one of many mantras that appear in guided meditations or other sources for mantra meditation, or you can come up with your own. It can even be something as simple as ‘I am here, I am present, I am enough, I am ready’ or something more complicated.
Here are some examples:
“My mind is brilliant. My body is healthy. My spirit is tranquil.”
“I create my own path and walk it with joy.”
“My positive thoughts guide me to new heights.”
“I am conquering my fears and becoming stronger each day.”
As you chant your mantra, it is important for you to continue breathing slowly and steadily through your nose. You can say the words loudly or whisper. Even repeating the mantra in your mind may bring some good results. It is advised to match the mantra to your breathing.
There are many short meditation techniques that you can try incorporating into your daily life at the office. If you’re new to meditation or have trouble finding the right way for you to meditate, we strongly recommend using a guided meditation app, like Take3Breaths. It will help you incorporate a meditation practice into your daily habits, navigate you through your first meditation sessions and help you find the meditation technique that works best for you.
Guided meditation usually consists of an audio or video of someone leading listeners through one or more methods of meditation. It is strongly advised for beginners to start building their meditation habits with the help of guided meditation, however, those more advanced are also often using the expertise of meditation teachers to guide them through their journey.
You may find a guided meditation on every subject that you could possibly imagine: guided meditation for anxiety, guided meditation for sleep, guided meditation for productivity, kindness, and relationships. Meditation apps usually offer long meditations that last even up to an hour or more, and shorter ones that last from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. It’s often better to start your meditation practice with the short ones and then move on to the longer meditations as you’re building your habit.
If you don’t have time for a few minutes of meditation at work, you may always try mindful eating. It requires you to not rush through your lunch or mindlessly eat while concentrating on other things, instead allow yourself to be present as you eat. Notice the smell of the food, how it looks, and how it tastes on each bite. Focus on the flavors and textures and imagine how all the ingredients combined into it make the flavor what it is.
Mindful eating not only helps you relax and re-focus for the rest of the day but also creates a habit of eating in a more healthy way because it makes you more alert to what foods you’re putting in your body and it also makes you eat slower, which is always healthy.
Another thing you may want to do if you don’t have much time during work for meditation is to step outside for a few minutes. Breathe in some fresh air while bringing attention to your body, stopping at your feet. You may walk around the building for a few minutes or use that quick walk to a shop nearby for something to eat as an excuse to practice walking meditation.
Walk slowly, bringing your attention to your feet as you walk, your ankles, calves, knees, up to your hips, and notice how each part is involved in the action of walking, in every single step.
As you can see there are many ways in which you can practise mindfulness and meditation at work and many reasons to do so. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find the space and time for it at your workplace. In recent years Mental Health has become a very important subject for many workplaces and industries, and the new way of thinking about mental health at work is starting to reshape our work culture.
Studies show that each year the number of people who choose to work at companies that support the mental health of their employees over those who do not increases. Employees wish to work at a place that cares about their well-being and actively does something to improve it. Since we’ve been implementing some of the solutions at our office for some time now, such as creating space for meditation and rest, bringing meditation teachers to show the ropes to our employees, or co-funding private healthcare, we can say with conviction that it really makes a difference, and will continue to do so in the future. It is believed that the subject of mental health at work will only gain more importance in the coming years.