Mindfulness Meditation Explained
You have probably heard the term “mindfulness” a lot more in recent years as it has become a popular way to help people manage their stress. You might be wondering though, what exactly is mindfulness and how does it help with stress? We will answer both of those questions below!
The American Psychological Association explains that mindfulness is one of the most popular meditation techniques. Meditation is the practice of training your attention to achieve a mental state of calm concentration and positive emotions, and mindfulness meditation specifically is a two-part process: attention and acceptance.
Attention: This the first part of mindfulness and it requires you to tune into the present moment. Typically this is done by directing your awareness to your breath, the physical sensations in your body and the feelings you are experiencing.
Acceptance: This is the second part of practicing mindfulness and it requires you to observe those feelings and sensations without any judgment. Instead of responding or reacting to any thoughts or feelings that might be trying to interrupt your practice, you aim to simply acknowledge them and then let them go.
How Does Mindfulness Meditation Help Manage Stress?
Chronic stress can lead to headaches, insomnia, fatigue, a weakened immune system, depression and more. Mindfulness works by dialing down your body’s response to stress and helps you handle it better so that the negative effects of chronic stress do not cause damage to your body. Psychological scientists explain that mindfulness influences two different stress pathways in the brain, changing brain structures and activity in regions associated with attention and emotion regulation. Their research also showed that those who practice mindfulness are better at preventing unnecessary stress because they are less likely to worry about a negative thought or experience constantly. Click here to learn more about the research behind mindfulness and stress management!
A Culture of Mindfulness
As a part of Stress Awareness Month, we wanted to share our top recommendations for incorporating mindfulness into your workplace culture and wellness program!
- Provide Resources: The number one way for employees to learn about mindfulness and begin experiencing the benefits from the practice is to provide easily accessible resources. These can be handouts, written guides or tips, virtual classes, paid memberships to mindfulness apps such as Headspace, etc. Health Designs offers a variety of mindfulness resources including virtual meditation sessions, webinars and onsite workshops all in one convenient place. Contact ustoday to learn more!
- Mindful Breaks: Provide a dedicated, quiet space for employees to take a break and practice mindfulness meditation during their workday. You can also encourage employees to take a mindful walk outdoors, participate in mindful stretching, or simply pausing a few times during the day to refocus on the present and try breath exercises.
- Lead by Example: Talking openly about your own mindfulness journey, utilizing the mindfulness resources that are provided, practicing mindfulness during the workday and being available to answer any questions is a great way to make mindfulness more approachable to your employees. It also allows them to see the benefits of the practice firsthand!
For more information on mindfulness and how to incorporate into your workplace and helping your employees manage their stress levels, click here!