Reducing workplace stress through meditation

19 Nov

Meditating can reduce stress.

Employees are stressed out. Forbes reported the average business person has between 30 and 100 projects to tackle at once. Balancing between these different projects and also attending meetings and dealing with burnout can be challenging. Additionally, 40 percent of adults say they can't sleep because of how stressed out they are.

The best ways for office workers to calm down is to reduce the distractions they deal with – this can include meetings if there are too many of them. Phone calls and instant messages are also distracting. They take away time when people could work. The best plan of action is to do a triage of what is important immediately, what can wait and what doesn't need to be dealt with at all. Some people go so far as to only answer messages during certain periods of the day.

Scheduling is a good idea because it allows people to take breaks when they need them. Breaks can actually reduce stress, and people will get more work done if they pause briefly during the day. One way to exercise during a break is to do meditative breath practices.

"Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project has shown that if we have intense concentration for about 90 minutes, followed by a brief period of recovery, we can clear the buildup of stress and rejuvenate ourselves," said business psychologist Sharon Melnick in an interview with Forbes.

Meditation one of many employee engagement ideas
Believe it or not, meditation really does help reduce stress. The Wall Street Journal cited that Dow Chemical brought mindfulness meditation training to its workers as a way of relieving some of the stress its workers feel. Every week for one hour, about 90 employees enter a Web conference, fill out a workbook and practice exercises. It really seems to be affective.

Additional approaches include ideas as varied as filling the office with potted plants and focusing on special cognitive-behavioral training.

The idea behind the "filter out the positive, focus on the negative" work is that ideally people will really begin to appreciate the sights and sounds around them without tying them to unhappy things. For example, if someone is in a traffic jam, he or she can focus on the blinking lights and the sound of the engines, which don't necessarily need to be associated with feeling unhappy.

Keep in mind there are limitations to stress management.

"These techniques aren't going to make up for having a jerk for a boss," says Patti Johnson, chief executive of PeopleResults, a human-resource consulting company. "When you're under major stress doing three projects at a time, the meadow and meditation aren't going to help with that."

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