Can Meditation Reduce Work-Related Stress?

by on February 16th, 2012 at 7:00 am

StressWe live in difficult times. Employees work harder than ever and have fewer opportunities. That’s what the market research firm, Harris Interactive, found after questioning over 1,500 American workers.

Harris published these findings in a survey that the firm conducted for the American Psychological Association.

According to the survey, thirty-six percent of American workers are stressed out.

“Employees … cite lack of opportunities for growth and advancement (43 percent), heavy workload (43 percent), unrealistic job expectations (40 percent) and long hours (39 percent) as significant sources of stress,” Harris says in the survey, Stress in the Workplace.

Thankfully, scientists may have found a way to help reduce the psychological burden of work. In a recent trial, they tested meditation techniques on full-time workers and found that a specific type of thought control could reduce the effects of stress.2

These results were published in a study entitled, A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Meditation for Work Stress, Anxiety and Depressed Mood in Full-Time Workers.

The study shows that 178 stressed out adult workers were recruited as subjects and were randomly divided into three groups: a mental silence meditation group, a relaxation control group, and a waiting list group.

Members of the meditation group were taught how to clear their mind by using a Sahaja Yoga technique called thoughtless awareness, according to the scientists.

When describing this technique in the study, Dr. Ramesh Manocha and colleagues say: “Affirmations, breathing techniques, and attention focusing exercises were taught in a graded fashion with the emphasis placed on achieving and maintaining a sustainable state of ‘mental silence’…”

At the end of the eight-week study, the meditation group had better scores on tests for occupational stress symptoms and depressive symptoms, according to the scientists.

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  1. Harris Interactive, “Stress in the Workplace,” American Psychological Association.
  2. R. Manocha et al, “A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Meditation for Work Stress, Anxiety and Depressed Mood in Full-Time Workers,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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