Yoga and Meditation at work for stress management

June 06, 2018

Yoga and meditation at work for stress management

Yoga and Meditation at work for stress managements is a proven strategy to work, and has been researched extensively over the years.

Since 2007, the American Psychological Association has commissioned an annual nationwide survey called “Stress in America” as part of its Mind/Body Health campaign to examine the state of stress across the country and understand its impact.

The survey measures attitudes and perceptions of stress among the public and leading sources of stress, common behaviours used to manage stress and the impact of stress on our lives. The survey draws attention to the serious physical and emotional implications of stress and the inextricable link between mind and body.

  • Since 2007, the survey found money and work are consistently the top 2 sources of significant stress (67% & 65% respectively)
  • Negative stress can lead to irritability, anxiety and depression
  • If chronic stress is sustained, it leads to burn-out or distress
  • Stress tolerance and resilience is affected or determined by genetics (inherited psychology and physiology), childhood experiences, personality characteristics, personality characteristics, existing stress, lifestyle and health (diet, sleep, exercise), existing stress management resources/techniques
  • Stress Management practices can include:
    • Reducing the number /intensity of stressors,
    • Breaks, leisure activity,
    • Efficiently managing stressors through goal setting, time management,
    • Reduce maladaptive behaviours: caffeine, nicotine, poor nutrition, sleep restriction, no exercise
    • Social support
    • Journaling 
    • Humour, laughter
    • Improve stress tolerance or resilience through cognitive behavioural therapy and positive psychology:
      • Recognition and acknowledgement of stress and that it can be dealt with.
      • Avoiding catastrophizing - what if scenarios, replace catastrophic thoughts.
      • Re-evaluation of needs/goals/standards - trying to please others, self-criticism, perfectionism, workaholism - insistence on always succeeding - insistence on a preconceived standard/expectation/belief
      • Reframing - you have the ability to choose your perspective - is the glass half empty or half full - if you’ve been given lemons make lemonade – problems as opportunities - if it doesn’t kill you it will make you grow - life could be worse, there are others for whom this is so 
    • Regular exercise 
    • Mind/body practices of yoga & meditation.

Results of yoga and meditation practices for stress management.

           Yoga Meditation and Cerebral Blood Flow 

yoga for stress management

CBF of long-term meditators  was significantly higher (p<  .05) compared to non-meditators in the prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, thalamus, putamen, caudate, and midbrain

...The observed changes...appear in structures that underlie the attention network and also those that relate to emotion and autonomic function.From:  Cerebral blood flow differences between long-term meditators and non-meditators, Newberg AB, Wintering N, Waldman MR, Amen D, Khalsa DS, Alavi A. Conscious Cognition, 19:899-905, 2010. 

Other studies on yoga and meditation:

  • Yoga and Meditation practices have shown to enhance the expression of genes associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion and telomere maintenance, and reduced expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress-related pathways.
  • Meditation in particular showed enormous results for family dementia caregivers with depressive symptoms: effects on mental health, cognition and telomerase.
  • PTSD patients also benefited tremendously from meditation.

Yogi Bhajan sums up  perfectly the benefits of yoga for stress management: “Yoga teaches you the techniques and awareness to stay healthy. You gain strong immune, glandular and nervous systems. This foundation gives you energy and lets you deal with the mental and spiritual facets of your life.”

Read more on the study of stress in America

To find out more about yoga and meditation at your work across Australia contact us