Although this article doesn’t pertain to FMCSA regulations, we thought it may be helpful to share some insights on a practice that will not only help to relieve stress, but has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, symptoms of IBS, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and many other negative health conditions commonly found in the trucking industry. This practice is known as Meditation or Mindfulness.
Fun fact, meditation is one of the few things shown to increase gray matter in our brains. Some people use mediation as a way to stay sharp; while others use it as a way to deal with high-stress environments. Nonetheless, it’s a life-altering practice that almost anyone can benefit from.
You may be wondering, why should I care about some hippie-dippy thing that has nothing to do with my company’s success or the DOT/FMCSA? Research shows that people who take up meditation as a regular practice see a slew of benefits that are correlated with better job performance, better health, more energy, and less stress. Meaning your employees will have more energy, fewer sick days, and more presence on the job.
When it comes to operating a company where cooperation and awareness are key, there are only so many things you can do to promote growth in these areas among your workforce. That’s why we recommend encouraging your team to try it for themselves and to consider implementing some kind of group meditation sessions in your company.
Here is the gist, there are a handful of different types of meditation that can be used depending on the desired outcome. We’re going to cover the most basic form, Mindfulness Meditation.
Here’s how you do it:
- Sit in a comfortable chair with good posture and your eyes closed.
- Spend the first 30 seconds quieting your mind so that you’re observing a void of nothingness. No sound, no thoughts, nothing.
- After you’ve found a center point in your mind, body, and environment, try to feel your breaths in as much detail as you can. Find a steady rhythm.
- When your mind wanders, let the thoughts come and go. Just remember to keep navigating back to the center point of your breath.
- Continue with this pattern of thought for 10-30 minutes a day and you will be astounded by the results.
Long-term meditators will tell you that your consciousness is like a muscle. Each time you notice your mind is thinking about something else like how much you need to get done etc, go back to center. This is the equivalent of a bicep curl for your mind.
Another key to help you understand what is going on in your head is to remember that we are all creatures of habit. If your brain isn’t used to being quiet, it may feel like you have a monkey bouncing around in your head trying to do anything to make you stop and feed it the brain food it’s used to.
These are usually thoughts about deadlines, traumatic memories, impulses to move around, etc. Practice being patient with the monkey and soon enough you will find that it wants to sit quietly with you too.
For more information on driver/employee wellness, have a look at this report from the FMCSA: