Meditation and Mindfulness: Stress Relievers You Should Know
Here are a few tips on using meditation and mindfulness to chill.
Posted July 16, 2018
My guest blogger today is Cassie Steele, Registered Nurse (RN) who spent over a decade working as an Emergency Room nurse and First Responder. She came to cope with stress by meditating and learning to be mindful of her actions, and it helped her live a healthier, less stressed life. Her tips might help you too.
If work is stressing you out, you don’t need to worry because meditation and mindfulness are great tools to try. Everyone gets stressed out sometimes but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get some stress relief when everything at work is just a little too much. Too much stress can lead you to figuratively or even literally pull your hair out. When you’re stressed, it is natural for you not to know what to do first, and this can take a toll on your well-being. Stress can also affect your performance at work and may even cause depression. However, there’s good news: Meditation and mindfulness can help you cope with stress and may even prevent mental health problems.
Missing Work Because of Stress
Have you missed work lately because of occupational stress? You’re not alone. Over a million American employees miss work each day because of stress in the workplace, but through a study by Math Janssen (an expert in psychology), the long-held belief that meditation and mindfulness can improve mental health can now be applied to you and millions more. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that employees who take time off because they just can’t take the pressure anymore are often off the job for an estimated 21 days. This would later lead to money lost. Let’s repeat that: American workers are losing money because they are stressed out! An average of $1,685 per employee is lost by stressed-out workers per year, and there’s an indirect cost too. The cost of untreated mental health issues is a whopping $79 billion per year and the numbers have gone up since. This is crazy! If you are reading this because you are stressed, the information above can be quite shocking. But never fear, meditation and mindfulness are here.
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment and truly opening your eyes to what is going on around you whether it's good or bad. It’s all about openness, breathing, and observing, and connecting with your inner experience. The American Psychiatric Association agrees with this definition and stresses that mindfulness meditation can help you connect with yourself, your feelings, and thoughts. Mindfulness is so powerful that it can not only effectively reduce anxiety and stress, but it can also affect you physically. It will not make you gain weight or make you thinner, but it will decrease your blood pressure, help you sleep better, and even boost your immunity. Imagine that! And it’s all backed by science!
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Depression
Depression is among the top three problems that you may experience at work. It is sometimes good to wish this wasn’t true but the 8.8 million sick days recorded in 2001 were due to mistreated or untreated depression. The good news is, you can use MBCT to prevent a relapse. MBCT uses mindfulness techniques such as stretching, breathing exercises, and meditation to get rid of or deal with negative thoughts.
While MBCT sessions are encouraged, you can do this on your own. If you’re the shy type or just don’t like attending sessions with other people, you can practice mindfulness just about anywhere. You can do this while you’re biking, eating, running, and walking. You can also meditate in the shower or while you’re zoning out because someone at work is telling an unfunny joke. If you pay attention to yourself and your inner experiences, you will feel better and when you do this regularly, you can even save your mind from potential problems, help you keep your job, and perform well in it. Mindfulness, as the kids say, is the bomb.