Our fast paced lives have us moving in many directions. We can often get caught up in our daily obligations, and the demands placed on us by work, family, or a combination of both can often lead to high levels of stress.
While it is impossible to avoid stress altogether, it is possible to learn how to reduce or better manage stress. If we don’t, chronic stress can have a negative effect on our health as well as our ability to focus, be creative and productive, and communicate well with others.
One effective way of managing your stress is to take time out during your workday to meditate. Studies have shown that learning to meditate at work not only reduces stress, but can decrease feelings of being overwhelmed and distracted.
For those working in health care, being present can also be very important for providing best care. Spending a few minutes a day breathing and being silent can be instrumental in being present in “the moment” with your patient.
A Five Minute Meditation
Taking a break in your day to meditate does not have to involve a huge commitment of your time. Just five minutes a day can help relieve stress and renew your focus and energy.
If you have never meditated before, follow these simple steps:
- Sit in a comfortable position with back supported (if able) or stand with feet shoulder width apart with eyes closed.
- Focus on the sound and pace of your breathing (is it fast/ slow/shallow or deep).
- Begin to draw in a deeper breath through your nose to fully inflate lungs/ chest and throat.
- Exhale slowly activating your abdominal muscles to push out all the stale air.
- As you attempt to deepen your breath, inhale for a count of 2 and exhale for a count of 4.
- Continue to sit/stand with eyes closed breathing deeply for 5 minutes if time allows.
To help your focus, one might opt to pick a mantra: a saying to repeat to yourself while breathing (peace, relax, present) or visualize ocean waves moving in and out.
You can add more time each session as you increase your ability to sit quietly and focus on your breathing.
So I challenge you to take five minutes out of your day and see what a difference it can make for you!