Learn how meditation can benefit you as a remote worker.

Meditation Benefits and Guide For Remote Workers

Many people who search for remote work opportunities believe it will help balance their work and home responsibilities. However, you need to remember that a remote job is not a silver bullet. Working from home (or remotely) will not solve all of your problems. Chances are, you are going to need to change more than where you work to bring more balance and harmony into your life. Use the benefits of meditation to help get you there.

Often cited as a major draw for working remotely, work-life balance is an ideal we all strive toward. With so many competing demands on our time, being able to eliminate a lengthy commute and enjoy a more flexible work schedule seems like a ticket to permanent happiness.

However, negative emotions such as stress and anxiety can hit and overwhelm us no matter where we work. If we are not careful, working at home may even lead to new struggles like loneliness and isolation. Changing your circumstances may have a positive impact for you internally, but that is never a guaranteed result. Taking up mindfulness and meditation helps you to attack and conquer any negative emotions you experience, regardless of your job or lifestyle.

What Is Meditation?

One tried-and-true way to support your transition to a more balanced and harmonious life is to establish a daily meditation practice. Meditation is “the act of giving your attention to only one thing…as a way of becoming calm and relaxed.”

Meditation is not a new idea. In fact, the first written records that mention meditation come from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism around 1,500 B.C. While the practice has flourished in the East, it has been slow to gain popularity in the West. This is changing quickly, though. More and more, we see the practice of meditation in mainstream society.

What Are the Benefits of Meditation?

Meditation benefits all aspects of your life: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Practitioners explain that adding a meditation practice to your daily routine will significantly improve the quality of your life.

Are you skeptical that sitting cross-legged and muttering “om” with your eyes closed will make you a happier person? Keep an open mind. Meditation doesn’t have to look like that sterotype and its benefits are not just anecdotal. Peer-reviewed scientific research has been conducted on meditation since the 1950s, with positive results across the board. Below are just a few examples of the documented benefits:

1. Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Several studies suggest conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder can be aided through meditation. This is accomplished by reducing the number of molecules associated with stress called cytokines which contribute to many physical and mental health problems, including inflammation, cancer, and depression.

2. Improve Attention Span and Ability to Focus

Have you ever suffered from a foggy mind? Meditation will help with that, too. Studies consistently show improvements in participants’ ability to stay focused on one task without the mind wandering or moving to worries. Not only does this make us more productive, but our increased ability to control our mind can also support us by reducing negative emotions and improving our ability to curb addictions by cutting down on food, smoking, alcohol, etc.

3. Improved Emotional Health

As noted above, meditation is credited with reductions in depression due to reductions in the release of cytokines. In addition, science has found that electrical activity increases in the parts of the brain that control positive thinking and optimism during meditation.

4. Maintain Brain Health

Research indicates that meditation improves neuroplasticity, the capacity of brain cells to form new connections. Meditation benefits also include the reduction of the effects of age-related memory loss and possibly prevent dementia.

5. Pain Reduction

Many research studies have reported an improved ability to cope with pain and also a slight reduction in pain by individuals with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis as a result of meditation. One possible reason for this is an increased level of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein that protects nerve cell health and helps to regulate metabolic processes.

Meditation & Spirituality

All religions have a tradition of meditation in some form. This is intended as a method to connect with and draw close to the divine. Prayer is a powerful form of meditation.

The Westernization of many forms of meditation has included a movement to secularization as well. There is nothing wrong with this approach, however, once you begin to practice you may naturally find yourself realizing that meditation is a tool tailor-made to explore spirituality. At this point, you may wish to explore a spiritual tradition to continue your studies.

What Types of Meditation Are There?

There are many forms of meditation, which may confuse a beginner. It is important to try different options when you are learning in order to experience the benefits of each for yourself. You can later customize your practice to meet your individual needs. Below are three types of meditation that are short and easy for beginners. Even the simplest meditation can have benefits for you.

Progressive Relaxation

Progressive Relaxation is a basic form of meditation designed to reduce tension and promote feelings of peace and calm. It involves scanning all areas of the body to identify and release areas of stress. This is a very effective way to prevent pain associated with clenched or spasming muscles and can also help you go to sleep.

How to Practice:

  1. Sit in a comfortable meditation posture: Cross-legged on a cushion or sitting straight with both feet on the floor. Back straight, chin slightly tilted down, eyes closed or partially closed, hands held loosely in the lap.
  2. Relax into the posture and focus on your breath for a few minutes to begin to calm your mind.
  3. Beginning at the top of your head, focus on first tensing, then relaxing and releasing the tension from a small section of your body at a time. For example, your head, your neck, your shoulders, elbows, etc.
  4. Slowly go from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. You can incorporate visualizations to help with releasing tension such as imagining it flowing out of the bottom of your feet.

Loving Kindness Meditation

As indicated, this type of meditation focuses on developing loving kindness toward yourself and others in order to improve your relationships and overall experience of compassion. A perfect practice when you are having difficulty with the people in your life. This meditation will also help reduce feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety, and depression.

How to Practice:

  1. Sit in a comfortable meditation posture: Cross-legged on a cushion or sitting straight with both feet on the floor. Back straight, chin slightly tilted down, eyes closed or partially closed, hands held loosely in the lap.
  2. Relax into the posture and focus on your breath for a few minutes to begin to calm your mind.
  3. Focus your attention on the area of your heart in the middle of your chest and begin to cultivate a feeling of peace and happiness. Think about what makes you happy and things that you love about yourself. Focus on and amplify this feeling for a while until you can identify a strong feeling of love at your heart.
  4. Then contemplate feeling and sending love and compassion towards a person of your choice such as a spouse, boss, mother-in-law. Try those you love easily as well as those who cause you problems.
  5. Encompass all living beings through the expansion of your love. Imagine waves of loving-kindness radiating from you to everyone on the planet.
  6. Slowly relax your concentration and arise from meditation.

Mindfulness Meditation

Perhaps the most researched form of meditation, mindfulness meditation encourages practitioners to remain aware and present in the moment. Meditators gently resist the urge to think about the past or the future and focus only on what is happening now. Mindfulness meditation benefits include the reduction of negative emotions and improvements in memory and focus.

How to Practice:

  1. Sit in a comfortable meditation posture: Cross-legged on a cushion or sitting straight with both feet on the floor. Back straight, chin slightly tilted down, eyes closed or partially closed, hands held loosely in the lap.
  2. Relax into the posture and focus on your breathing. This will calm your mind after a few minutes.
  3. Bring your attention fully to your current situation. Notice what you are experiencing and what sensations you are currently feeling. For example, the pressure of your feet on the floor, the sound of traffic in the distance, the warmth of the sun on your face.
  4. Allow yourself to rest within the present moment. Do not judge your experience. Nothing is “good” or “bad.” It simply is the way it is.
  5. Notice how staying in the moment makes you feel both calm and ready to engage at the same time. Focus on this feeling for a few minutes before you arise from meditation.

A Few Tips to Get Started

Remote workers with location independence and flexible schedules have an ideal situation for integrating a meditation practice into their daily schedule. Below is some advice on how to get started.

  1. Set up a meditation space. If you can, find a little real estate in your home to set up a comfortable space in order to meditate. While you can meditate anywhere, sometimes it helps to have a space set aside for you to retreat to without interruptions.
  2. Spend 10 minutes to start with. It is more important to experience positive feelings and emotions from your meditation sessions than it is to break the world record for the longest meditation. This is not a competition. Go at your own pace.
  3. Meditation is cumulative. If you start, if you continue, if you are consistent, you will achieve results. However, do not overdo it or expect very specific results. This attitude will only bring additional stress and discouragement, counteracting any good you may be doing.
  4. Think of the entire day as an extension of your meditation session. Focus on bringing your meditative peace with you when you arise and try to maintain your positivity throughout the day. If you think of in-meditation and out-of-meditation as separate, you will not see the changes you want to experience in your daily life.
  5. Incorporate other meditative and mindfulness techniques throughout your day. For example, before you start on a new project, spend a few minutes clearing your mind and generating positive feelings about your project. When you are on hold, practice mindfulness and just notice what is going on in the present moment.

What Are the Drawbacks?

This is a trick question! There is no lack of meditation benefits. However, sometimes people might complain that meditation makes their mind race or contributes to their anxiety. Chances are that this reaction arises simply because it is the first time that they have focused inwardly on their own thoughts, mental busyness, and anxiety.

Rather than discourage us, this should serve to encourage us that learning and practicing meditation to train our mind is necessary and will be beneficial. If we practice sincerely, patiently, and consistently, we will definitely achieve results.


Are you a remote worker who practices meditation? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to tell us what you think. We’d love to hear from you!

iStock image: fizkes


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