Everyone experiences some degree of workplace stress, but over time, even small stressors can take a big toll on your physical and mental health, eventually leading to exhaustion and burnout.
You can help prevent burnout by establishing a daily meditation routine: even just a few minutes a day can provide real benefits.
Studies have shown that meditation decreases stress and anxiety, and it increases focus and concentration. It can also have direct physical benefits: it helps to decrease blood pressure, increases blood flow to the heart and decreases muscle tension—including the muscles that cause stress-related tension headaches!
Meditation Decreases Your Stress & Anxiety
It is a well-known fact that chronic stress negatively affects both the body and the mind. Meditation can help mitigate stress by promoting relaxation and helping you let go of daily worries. It also increases positive feelings and tolerance, so you’ll be less likely lash out when your child refuses to cooperate or your boss piles on additional work at the last minute.
Tense situations simply won’t rattle you as much. A daily practice will also lessen the chances of reaching for unhealthy stress-relief options that cause damage, such as smoking, binge drinking or overeating.
Meditation Increases Your Focus & Concentration
It teaches you to focus on the present moment, which means you can more effectively tune out unhelpful distractions and complete the tasks in front of you. This improved focus leads to better prioritizing and decision-making both at work and in life.
Many busy working people feel that meditation is just another time-consuming activity to add to an already over-scheduled day. However, by taking just a few minutes out of your day to relax and focus, you are actually likely to increase your productivity—and stave off burnout at the same time.
Meditation Improves Your Physical Health
If you feel healthy and strong, you are less likely to become overwhelmed by stress and experience burnout. Meditation has been linked to a host of physical benefits including pain relief, lower oxygen consumption and decreased respiratory rate.
Regular practice has also been shown to decrease blood pressure and increase blood flow to the heart. In addition, meditation helps promote restful sleep and the ability to give up unhealthful behaviors like substance abuse.
Furthermore, many common illnesses are exacerbated by stress, and meditating helps keep stress at bay. It has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms from a host of ailments, ranging from arthritis to allergies to cancer to PMS. It is also linked to stronger immune systems and shorter post-operation healing times. (Meditation is not a replacement for medication, of course, but many physicians are now recommending meditation as a complementary addition to traditional medical treatment.) If you are looking to improve your physical health, there is really no reason not to try it.
In addition to providing all of these benefits, meditation is completely free and accessible to anyone. There is no special equipment required, and you can do it from pretty much anywhere. (If you’re having a stressful day at work, you can take five-minutes to meditate in your car—or even in a stairwell!)
However, many people have difficulties establishing a routine at first. It may help to create a small space in your home that you use exclusively for meditating, and to set aside a specific time of day as your designated meditation time. You can start with just five minutes a day (use a timer to help yourself keep track). If you still have trouble sticking with it, there are many free resources available online that can help. Here is a good place to start.