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Most people who enter the nursing field do it because they love it, but that doesn’t mean that the job is without its difficulties. It’s demanding nature and long hours create a high stress atmosphere that can get to even the best nurses, but managing your stress is the key to getting a hold of peace and mental well-being. You don’t need a fancy vacation or spa weekend to reach a Zen state, just a few minutes out of each day before you start your shift or take you lunch break to do something proven to relieve stress: meditation.
Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, bolster immunity and improve overall well-being from several studies, including a 2013 Harvard study that confirmed the ancient practice not only had a positive mental effect, but a biological effect as well on those who practice it.(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-22/harvard-yoga-scientists-find-proof-of-meditation-benefit.html)
Many people feel uncomfortable with meditation or don’t understand it, but it’s rather simple.
There are a number of ways to meditate, but here are three simple techniques to get started. Keep in mind that you only should do one technique at a time.
One form of meditation is to go in a quiet space, set a timer for 10 to 20 minutes and close your eyes. Focus on your breathe as you slowly inhale and exhale. Think about the sensation you are feeling, how your chest expands and contracts and how the rest of your body is affected by it. Your mind may wonder from time to time, and that’s perfectly fine, so long as you bring your focus right back to breathing. This exercise will help train your brain to stay focused on what you tell it to in a relaxed matter. Over a period of time, you will find it’s much easier to manage your response to stressful situations.
Find a quiet space, close your eyes and repeat a word or phrase of significance to you quietly, in your mind. It could be peace, joy, relax or anything you want for yourself, so long as you mentally repeat it while relaxed. Much like focused breathing, your mind will probably wonder, but just bring back the focus to intentionally repeating your mantra for the remainder of the time you’re dedicating to meditation.
With mindfulness meditation, you don’t try to direct your thoughts, you just pay attention to what they are as they flood in and out of your mind. Take note of how your thoughts and feelings are affected, and you’ll notice when you will notice how some make you feel good or pleasant while others make you feel angry, ashamed or frustrated. Simply paying attention to how your thoughts make you feel will help you to develop inner balance when dealing with your emotions.
As simple as these meditation techniques may seem, they have quite the impact.
There’s documented proof that it has an impact on the immune system and positive effects on the brain. Meditation can also lower blood pressure, improve blood circulation, lower cortisol levels, lower heart rate and lessen anxiety.
So the next time a peer, patient or any other situation beyond your control brings you to a boiling point, take a deep breath and steal a few moments away to meditate.
For more meditation methods, visit the following links: