photo of a woman looking thoughtful
Mindfulness can stop you falling into a pattern of compulsive negative thoughts about work

Online mindfulness courses can help reduce work stress

11 September, 2014

Natural Health News — A brief online mindfulness course requiring only two hours of training and practice per week has been shown to be effective for reducing fatigue and  negative work-related thoughts and at improving sleep quality.

These are the findings of Dawn Querstret and Professor Mark Cropley from Surrey University in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation. The research is being presented at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology annual conference.

Compulsively focused attention on distressing thoughts about work (what the researchers called affective rumination)  has previously been shown to be related to increased levels of stress and work-related fatigue.

Stress and its associated physiological responses are known to have negative health effects in the long run.

More and more businesses are beginning to understand the importance of employee emotional welfare and the impact that time off work due to emotional stress can have.

This  highlights the importance of finding ways to help employees reduce the pressure and impact work-related worry may be having.

In the current study, 127 participants took part in the four-week internet-based mindfulness stress-reduction course. Participants were randomly allocated to the intervention or control group. Participants levels of affective rumination, sleep and fatigue was measured over four time points (pre-treatment, post-treatment, and at three- and six-month follow up).

Making more effective choices

The intervention had a significant positive effect on levels of affective rumination, sleep quality and fatigue for those in the intervention group in comparison to the control group.

The scientists said: “Research has shown that there are significant numbers of people who are suffering from work-related fatigue and rumination. We ourselves have found evidence of the causal relationship between how people worry about work and their ability to recover and switch off effectively at the end of the day.

“Mindfulness helps people to develop awareness of their thoughts and emotions in a positive way helping them make more effective choices and gain over their responses to different situations.

The study shows that helpful courses are a more positive aspect of online life:

“Online mindfulness interventions may provide a cost effective way for organisations to improve the health of their employees whilst help reduce the long-term negative health consequences of work stress.”

Though of course you can also learn about mindfulness and meditation in groups and courses off line too!