Stressed At Work? 4 Simple Meditation Practices That Take Only 5 Minutes
Are you feeling stressed at work? If so, then you are not alone. According to research by Harvard University, one out of every five working adults report experiencing a significant amount of stress at work in the past year. Heavy workloads, long hours, tight deadlines, job insecurity and conflict with co-workers are all things that can cause your stress levels to skyrocket.
Work stress can take a toll on your health and well-being. High levels of daily work stress can cause irritability, headaches, stomach problems, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Do you tend to cope with stress by grabbing a candy bar from the snack machine at work? Or, maybe you have one too many glasses of wine after work. According to the American Psychological Association, this can make things even worse.
Fortunately, there are a lot of easy and healthy ways to manage stress. One of the best ways to banish stress is by meditating. When practiced for just ten minutes each day, meditation can help you reduce stress. This thousand-year-old practice has also been shown to help decrease anxiety and improve digestion and heart health.
Meditation is a simple practice that doesn’t take a lot of time. In fact, if you have five minutes, you can practice meditation. You can do these five-minute meditations throughout your workday.
#1 Belly Breathing
Do you get into the habit of breathing with just your chest? Tight clothing, stress and weak abdominal muscles all contribute to chest breathing. The problem is that shallow breathing limits the diagram’s range of motion. The lungs don’t get enough oxygenated air, which can make you feel anxious and short of breath. Belly breathing, on the other hand, allows your lungs to take in enough oxygen. It can help lower blood pressure and low the heartbeat.
Here is a quick belly breathing technique that you can do several times a day:
- Find a quiet place to lie down.
- Take a normal breath through your nose. Allow your belly and chest to rise as your lungs fill with air.
- Breathe out slowly through your mouth or nose.
As you practice this technique, you might want to place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach so that you can feel your chest and belly rise and lower as you practice the breathing technique.
#2 Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is one of the easiest relaxation techniques to learn. It doesn’t take much time to do the practice and it can help lower stress a lot. With progressive muscle relaxation, you identify tight muscles and then slowly relax them. Here is the technique.
- Do a short body scan, paying attention to different areas of your body. Start at the top of your head and move towards your toes.
- When you notice a tight or tense muscle or area, consciously tighten that area while inhaling.
- Next, exhale and slowly release the tightness in your muscle.
- Gradually work your way down your entire body.
It can be very helpful to imagine each muscle relaxing as you perform this exercise. Imagery is very useful when you practice muscle relaxation.
#3 Box Breathing
Box breathing is a type of breathing that helps return your breath to its normal pace or rhythm. Try this breathing exercise throughout the day to help your breathing stay consistent.
- Close your eyes.
- Count to four as you slowly breathe in through your nose.
- Hold your breath for four counts. Make sure your mouth and nose are relaxed as you hold your breath.
- Exhale for four seconds.
#4 Let Go
Stress can result from holding in worries and tensions. Do you notice a painful knot in your neck after a stressful work week? It could be that you are holding in tension. Letting go of any negative emotions that you are carrying around with you can help you feel a lot better. Here is a helpful “Letting Go” guided meditation practice that takes just a little over three minutes to do.