Meditation Beats Stress

February 2022 |

Yes, the age-old technique works even in high-tech settings.

Life as a business owner and a veterinarian can be stressful. You can’t eliminate, or even control, the factors that cause a day to be a complete mess. But you can control your ability to cope with them.

A growing number of people are managing those stresses through meditation. At its most basic, meditation is a practice of resting the mind and focusing inward, either with a guide or on your own. Forms include mantra, vipassana, transcendental meditation and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, some of which include breathing exercises as part of the practice.

For many people, meditation can be intimidating in the beginning. Certainly, the idea of anything referred to as a “practice” can seem like work, and if you’re stressed out and overworked, finding a few minutes of quiet to do nothing but “be still” can seem impossible.

Here are tips for getting started from Liz Veyhl, founder of Small World Yoga, a nonprofit in Nashville, Tenn.:

  • Pick a time of day. Veyhl tries to meditate each morning, before the day gets away from her. But if it doesn’t happen, she doesn’t beat herself up; she just fits it in later.
  • Choose the right place. A quiet space with somewhere comfortable to sit is crucial. Choose one where you won’t be interrupted, such as your bedroom in the morning, your office at lunch, or even sitting in your car in the parking lot before work. Sitting in a chair is fine; you don’t need to be cross-legged on a floor.
  • Start small. If you haven’t meditated before, you may feel antsy at the idea of 10 minutes of focused thought. The mind will wander (that’s part of the process), so most experts suggest you start small. Try for three to five minutes. Focus on establishing a routine of daily meditation, rather than on the number of minutes on the timer.
  • Get help. During guided meditation, a narrator walks you through mental exercises to focus your mind and help you refocus when it wanders. If your neighborhood yoga classes include meditation, your teacher may direct you through this. At home, try an app or online resource (see box).

Close Your Eyes and Download

Download one of these apps, put on your headphones and disconnect.

Headspace: Helpful, quick animations explain complex cognitive topics in simple terms. There’s a themed meditation for every possible scenario.

Calm: Guided meditations with a focus on options to help you unwind and sleep after a rough day.

Stop, Breath & Think: This app helps you understand what meditation is before you start. There are options to customize the content to beat your own stressors.