Within the health care profession, it is common not to work the typical nine-to-five workday. Healthcare never stops. Therefore, you may work the day shift, the night shift and everything in between. No matter the shift, one thing to help you achieve your goals for the day is remaining mindful and grounded. Meditation is a tool that can help you with this.
Meditation originated in India and has been practiced for thousands of years. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that meditation gained popularity in America. Today, meditation has become mainstream. Famous athletes are meditating, CEOs are meditating and studies are proving the benefits of mindfulness meditation. A study published in January of 2019 in the Journal of Behavioral Brain Research found that after eight weeks of short daily meditations, participants negative mood states decreased and their attention and working memory increased (Basso et al. 2019).
Dan Harris, an ABC News Anchor who famously and publicly experienced a panic attack on air, discusses his journey with meditation in his book, “10% Happier.” Today Harris promotes meditation and has collaborated with researchers to prove that just one minute of meditation each day, can have a positive impact.
We live in a fast-paced world, with our phones glued to our hands and the never-ending to-do list. Think about how often you sit, do nothing and enjoy the present moment. I would guess not too often. The premise of mindfulness meditation is finding a comfortable seat, being still, noticing your breath, feeling your body and letting your thoughts pass by without reacting.
Today, there are countless tools and resources to help with meditation. Two of my favorite free meditation apps are “Headspace” and “Insight Timer.” Insight Timer has hundreds of free guided meditations, ranging anywhere from one minute to beyond hour. Meditation can help you manage stress, stay focused and sleep better. Best of all, it’s free and does not take a lot of time to be effective.
No matter what your day looks like, or what time of day you are working, meditation can help you stay grounded and present. The next time you think about scrolling through social media when you have a free moment, think about closing your eyes and taking a deep breath.
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Basso, J. C., McHale, A., Ende, V., Oberlin, D. J., & Suzuki, W. A. (2019). Research report: Brief, daily meditation enhances attention, memory, mood, and emotional regulation in non-experienced meditators. Behavioural Brain Research, 356, 208–220. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2018.08.023
Harris, Dan. (2014). 10% Happier. New York City: Harper Collins Publishers:
Insight Network Inc. (2019). Insight Timer (Version 14.6.1) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com