With the growing concern for ensuring remote workers take care of their mental health, plenty of organizations are looking for all sorts of ways to assist their remote workers. One of the many choices for improving the mental state of a remote employee's mental health has been meditation. Meditation has become increasingly popular among organizations in recent years. Plenty of them have adopted it as a way to help their workforce.
Meditation is an ancient practice that originated in the east and has been in use for thousands of years. Meditation is the practice of focusing profoundly on one’s mind for a set of times. Meditation comes in many forms, but the ultimate goal behind it is to feel relaxed and inner peace, which improves a person's mental health. There is several growing research that supports the fact that meditation has positive impacts on a person's mental health.
This practice has grown in popularity because of these benefits, especially when people these days are increasingly overloaded with tasks and responsibilities. Frequent practice of meditation can assist with several symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety while further promoting healthy sleep and a positive self-image. Further evidence has suggested that meditation is capable of improving attention span and causing people to open up to learning new things. For this article, let’s go over why meditation is one of the best exercises for mental health.
Self-esteem and self-awareness
Meditation encourages the practitioner to slow down, prompts them to take deep self-reflection, and can help them unearth positive attributes about themselves. Mindfulness is capable of helping increase a person’s self-awareness by boosting their ability to examine personal thoughts and feelings without judgment. Doing so will eventually allow them to improve their self-esteem.
According to research conducted by Stanford University, mindfulness meditation is especially known for assisting with social anxiety. A study published back in 2009 by the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy revealed that 14 participants with social anxiety disorder were a part of a two-month meditation session and reported a reduction in anxiety and better self-esteem after the program was finished.
Better game-changing ideas
According to a study published in Frontiers in Cognition, meditation causes a person to become a better creative thinker. Divergent thinking is a method of creativity that drives the flow of idea generation. It’s measured by something that has been dubbed as the “Alternate Uses Task” method, where the individual is required to think up as many uses as possible about a specific item, such as a ball.
In the study, researchers had the participants undergo an “Open Monitoring” meditation exercise. The person is encouraged to be receptive to every thought and sensation without concentrating on any specific concept or object. The other meditation was the “Focused Attention” exercises where the participants were asked to focus on single specific thought or thing, and only that.
The results showed that open monitoring sessions allowed the participants to perform better in divergent thinking and come up with more new ideas. However, focused attention meditation barely had any impact on their creativity.
Enhances physical exercise
Having a way for your remote workers to reduce the mental strain they are experiencing is crucial for their mental health. Of course, with how skeptical people are of meditation, most of them wonder how effective active meditation can be in improving a person's well-being. Well, according to a study done by Rutgers University, it’s pretty effective. A group of researchers had 52 young adults participate in this program, with 22 of them suffering from clinical depression.
The participants were enrolled in a targeted mental and physical health program. For eight weeks, participants were told to hit the treadmill for 30 minutes and then meditate for another 40 minutes. After each session, the researchers would take assessments of the participant's emotional state.
The results were significantly positive overall, with everyone experiencing a reduction in stress and anxiety. Even the group that was clinically depressed report that they tended to dwell less on negative situations in their lives after going through the eight-week session. However, one of the most notable parts of this study was the group who had clinical depression had their symptoms reduced by 40%.
Better nights of sleep
There are going to be nights where people are going to have a rough time falling asleep. No matter how exhausted they may feel, their brains will start to buzz with thoughts of unfinished work and stressful scenarios. With the number of things your remote workers are dealing with daily, their worries will begin to pile up and creep upon them when they are attempting to fall asleep. The lack of sleep can cause them to be less productive and efficient in getting work done. They are also likely to become more snappish than usual and lash out at others to the slow decline in self-control and exhaustion.
Let’s not forget that some of your workers may also suffer from one of the most annoying sleeping disorders out there, insomnia. Fortunately, meditation is an excellent way to help your team improve their sleep. It also makes it a far better alternative to popping in a sleeping pill every night.
According to a study published in Jama Internal Medicine, twenty-five middle-aged and older adults with sleeping disorders completed a mindfulness meditation program that taught them to concentrate on in-the-moment experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Another group consisting of twenty-five adults went through a sleep education class that taught them how to improve their sleeping habits. Both of these groups went to these sessions six times, once a week, for two hours in total.
The results showed that the mindfulness meditation group were experiencing less depression, fatigue, and insomnia. Herbert Benson, the author of this study, recommends that people practice mindfulness for at least twenty minutes during the day. Doing so will allow them to develop a reflex more seamlessly and bring forth a sense of relaxation. Hence, making it much easier to bring forth the relaxation response at night when they can’t sleep.
Less sick days
There will be days when your remote employee will request a day off due to experiencing some sort of illness, such as the cold or flu. As reluctant as you may be about offering them a day off, they need to rest up and recover from these illnesses. A sick worker won’t be able to remain focused or productive in their task and instead lag behind all while feeling miserable from trying to get work done. Furthermore, forcing them to continue working while sick may cause them to lose respect for the organization they work for since its leaders have shown that they could care less about their ill employees.
According to research published in the Annals of Family Medicine, meditation is moderately effective when it comes to protecting against symptoms like the cold and flu. The study had 149 individuals participating, with the average age being 59. They were given training sessions for eight weeks or did nothing. Fifty-one were assigned to mindfulness meditation sessions, forty-seven of them were assigned to moderate exercises (such as running), and 51 of them served as a control group.
The participants who went through mindfulness training had 27 total episodes of flu or cold symptoms, with the participants who exercised had 26 total episodes of cold and flu symptoms, and the control group around 40. When the mediation group and exercise group did get sick, they experienced less severe symptoms. The cold was shorter, and that resulted in fewer days of missed work. The participants who meditated experienced around 40% to 50% decrease in cold and flu symptoms. The exercise group experienced around 30% to 40% reduction in symptoms.
Depression is something that could occur within your remote group for several reasons, whether it’s due to family issues or the mounting amount of work. Meditation has been proven to have some impact on reducing the effects of depression. According to a study published by Rutgers University, a combination of meditation and exercises twice a week for two months has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms by a total of 40%. It can even impact people who are not suffering from full-on depressive symptoms.
They gathered fifty-five men and women to participate in this study, with twenty-two of them suffering from depression, while thirty of them were mentally healthy. The program lasted for eight weeks. During those eight weeks, participants would meet twice a week and spend thirty minutes on focused-attention meditation, an exercise that would require them to focus on a single thing. The participants would have to concentrate on their breath, then complete thirty minutes of aerobic exercise. The participants were instructed to redirect their focus on their breathing if any thoughts started to float to future or past topics. The idea of this was to have them accept moment-to-moment changes in attention.
After two months, every participant showed fewer depressive symptoms. They spent less time worrying about negative scenarios, were capable of dealing with issues, and prevented negative thoughts far better.
Meditation has proven to be an effective way for people to improve their mental health. Get your remote employees to start trying out meditation for themselves. Provide it by either creating a group meditation session or providing them with the resources they need to conduct a solo meditation session. There are several ways to go about this, such as providing them with apps or building a resource list of online videos that can easily guide them through the proper steps.