- ‘Being less stressed’ tops the polls of number one life change we wish to make
- Our working environment is confirmed as being more important to us than our pay
- UK residents only get 8hrs of relaxation each month
A new study by ground-breaking meditation app, Anamaya, has revealed ‘being less stressed’ as the number one life-change that the UK population would like to make. Almost a third of those questioned (31%) put reducing their stress levels at the top of the wish list, followed by spending more time with their family and friends (27%), and being more confident in their own skin (25%).
The research, which questioned 1,000 respondents and was commissioned by Anamaya to examine the impact our stress levels have on both our work and home lives, also revealed that more than half of us (52%) actually only feel fully relaxed for just a couple of hours each week.
It appears that the environment we work in is one of the biggest contributors to stress levels – in fact the data revealed that being in a happy and welcoming atmosphere was listed as the most important aspect, with 40% of people stating the environment in which they work is more significant than financial benefits such as pay (19%) and a pensions (21%).
The study has also confirmed that cases of anxiety and stress are on the rise and taking their toll on our careers - in fact, other than being poorly, stress and depression are listed as the top reason people take time off work with one in five respondents admitting to taking time off work due to stress – though one in five also confessed to taking the odd day off to be with a secret lover!
So what’s the answer? Almost a third (32%) of people questioned acknowledged that they felt mind training and meditation could make a real difference to their day to day stress levels but a quarter were unsure how to integrate mind training into their busy schedules.
Graham Doke, founder and narrator of the Anamaya app and ex-city lawyer, comments: “The majority of us have experienced how, at one point or another, the stress and strains of our work life can be brought back home with us on an evening. If not addressed, this stress can have a detrimental impact on our lives.
“Our study shows that people are really struggling with getting the work/life balance right and are ultimately craving a less stressful life. When you look at the US and UK firms that have introduced mindfulness in the workplace, the results are overwhelming and show that simply taking 5-10 minutes out during your work day to focus on mindfulness, relaxation or to meditate, can have some truly remarkable results.”
Last year the US trend of focusing on mindfulness in the workplace began to take off here in the UK, with firms such as the NHS and Transport For London introducing mindfulness and meditation sessions for their staff.
The Anamaya application is a beautifully serene meditation course, founded on rigorous medical research, and extensive clinical experience, offering advanced meditation techniques that are proven to change the physical structure of the brain, and, in turn, people’s thoughts and emotions. It features more than 350 meditations exploring 11 different focus areas including worry, anxiety, stress, pain, sports and pregnancy – designed not just to relax, but to heal.
The top five ways mindfulness can help you in the workplace:
1. Increased awareness of your emotions – office politics, rivalry, jealousy and competitiveness can all have a major impact on your work experience. When executed properly, meditation and mindfulness training can increase awareness of emotions and the awareness of other’s emotion – helping you to control your reactions and be more aware when people are trying to provoke.
2. Manage anxiety levels - anxiety is proven to be an inhibiter of good performance, and it produces a self-feeding cycle of greater anxiety and stress. Awareness of your anxiety leaves you able to deal with the emotion itself, and clears the way to better performance.
3. Ease the pressure - People claim they ‘work best under pressure’, and managers often feel they get the best from their team by being aggressively demanding. However, neuroscience shows that stress, pressure, reaction to aggression all produces a negative reaction in our brains. Anyone who thinks they operating best under pressure is simply not thinking straight! Meditation reduces the activity of this part of the brain and means we can think clearer.
4. Problem solving - meditation can change the structure of the brain, particularly the pre-frontal cortex - this change is measurable with MRI scans and leaves the meditator able to modify their behaviour. One of the most empowering changes that mindfulness can bring is the ability to be less fearful and more willing to approach a problem than previously.
5. Work/life balance - In the modern environment of instant information, instant reaction, and 24/7 availability, it is difficult to achieve any kind of balance. In this ‘always on’ culture, where it has become increasingly difficult to switch off thanks to technology, employers are now much more obligated to ensure their employees’ health and wellbeing is maintained.