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Women Today

How meditation can help combat work-life imbalance

Juggling a family and a thriving career is no small task. It's easy to become overwhelmed when faced with responsibilities at home and at the office, and it's even easier to fall victim to a work-life imbalance. Such an imbalance can have troubling short- and long-term consequences.

More than 40 percent of working professionals who were recently surveyed by the United Kingdom-based Mental Health Foundation noted that they are neglecting various aspects of their life because of work. The MHF notes that such an imbalance can make professionals more vulnerable to mental health problems. In fact, the same survey found that more than half of all workers who work long hours feel irritable, while 27 percent acknowledged feeling depressed.

Various strategies can help working professionals overcome the negative side effects of work-life imbalance. In addition to exploring ways to work fewer hours and find more time for their families, professionals who feel their life lacks balance can seek ways to overcome the stress associated with such an imbalance. Meditation is one such option.

What is meditation?

The Mayo Clinic notes that meditation dates back thousands of years. Modern meditation often aims to help people relax and reduce stress. When meditating, people focus their attention as they attempt to eliminate jumbled thoughts. That can be especially valuable to adults who are feeling overwhelmed by their many personal and professional responsibilities.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that there are many types of meditation, but most require four common elements:

• a quiet location to meditate where distractions are limited

• a specific, comfortable posture

• something people can focus their attention on while meditating, such as a set of words or an object

• an open attitude

How does meditation benefit the mind and body?

Meditation advocates note that the practice can provide a sense of inner peace and help people rebalance their lives. That can pay dividends for both physical and mental health.

The NCCIH notes that evidence suggests meditation can help reduce blood pressure. High blood pressure has been linked to both heart disease and stroke. A small study by the NCCIH also found that a form of meditation known as mindfulness-based therapy for insomnia helped reduce instances of chronic insomnia in adults.

According to the NCCIH, a 2013 review of three studies suggested that meditation may help slow, stall or even reverse age-related changes in the brain.

Adults confronting a work-life imbalance may feel as though they don't have the time to address their concerns in a healthy, effective way. Meditation need not take up much time each day, but it can be an effective tool in the fight against work-life imbalance.

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