According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, poor job security, increased workload, and a lingering recession are leading causes of job burnout and stress. All of us have suffered job burnout from time to time, but the conditions are more severe and widespread now. There is a deeper sense of exhaustion, cynicism and despondency. Most of us have witnessed friends and co-workers losing their jobs, being surprised at work with a pink slip, or even being escorted off company premises. It has left many with the feeling of being betrayed and used.
Witnessing friends and family members losing their jobs is as difficult as losing your own, and this anxiety does not go away. It is stored and often turns to anger, road rage, guilt, irritability at home, frustration with your relationships and depression. None of us can escape the recession; it is worldwide. Each and every day, we hear about the deadlines for our government, our incredible debt, Greece’s problems and the starving children all over the world. Due to the human ability to socially connect, many of these people become our family or friends, and we can no longer deny that we are in this worldwide recession together.
Since the recession will continue taking its toll, we must all focus on how we can take care of ourselves and our families so the additional stress and work load doesn’t compromise our health. Using cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, retail therapy, porn, and food to make us feel better may provide temporary relief, but it will only add to our health problems five years down the road. Better options are meditation, prayer and exercise. If it were possible to put meditation, prayer and exercise into a capsule, we would be the healthiest nation on earth. Everyone knows how to exercise, but books and magazines are bought by millions of people who really just need to open the door and take a walk. People know how to pray, but it is usually done when the person is desperate and has limited options. Brain scans have shown an increase in healthy brain activity when people pray or meditate. The heart rate lowers, blood pressure falls, and respirations become deeper and slower. With prayer and meditation, you need to learn to be still, but we have such a tough time learning that it is okay to sit still and be quiet.
The best thing you can do for your health that will give you more energy is to learn to pray and/or meditate. It takes only five minutes each day, and you can practice it anywhere. Get the whole family involved as it is a wonderful gift to teach your children. Here is a very simple guide to help you with your five minutes:
1. Schedule it into your day during a time where you are least likely to be interrupted. Early morning works well for many.
2. Set your timer for five minutes. From that point, don’t think about time.
3. Sit in a comfortable position and focus only on your breath. If a thought interrupts, it is okay, just let it pass. Do not act on the thought, rather observe the thought.
4. In the beginning, it is best to have silence with no music in the background. If you cannot do that then nature sounds are best.
5. Don’t expect anything to change immediately. It takes a while for your brain to realize this is your five minutes, and you will protect it. Changes begin to happen after 30 days of consistent practice.
Many schools are teaching meditation for children. The schools realized that small children have many stressors today that we didn’t have growing up. Teaching meditation to young children has been reported to lessen bullying behaviors. Relationships and marriages also improve with meditation. It is in the stillness that we heal our body, minds, and souls. –Mary Jo Rapini
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