Your past job may have been stressful, but you probably find that you are still stressed out as you search for a new job. Stress can cause a variety of health problems like high blood pressure, but it can also raise your cholesterol according to this article from the Wall Street Journal. Mindfulness, an intentional focus on the present, has been receiving increasing attention during the last few years as a way to escape the stresses of everyday life. Research is showing that daily meditative practice or just a few minutes a day of “no thinking” and observing your breathing can literally positively change brain structure. Like physical exercise, it is no quick fix to help calm you down when going through a job search, but it is a great time to begin the practice. You have more unstructured time than when you are in a demanding full-time job, so try to use this time to learn and incorporate this healthy behavior into your life. If you start now, you may have developed a habit before you are back in the workforce.
Your new company may encourage you to keep up the newly-formed habit. Many companies are beginning to incorporate meditation into their work spaces. Chicago advertising technology company Centro hosts twice-weekly meditation sessions for their employees. Steve Jobs, a longitme meditator, allowed his employees at Apple to take a 30-minute break daily to meditate at work in the office meditation room. Google, whose office complex has been the focus of news segments and articles, offers regular classes on meditation to their employees.
There are many approaches to mindfulness — for beginners I would recommend reading any of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s books on mindfulness. For example, Wherever You Go, There You Are is a good start. In addition, check out YouTube for the many videos that have been uploaded regarding his presentations or mindfulness sessions. This video from a Google presentation will help introduce you to his thinking.
I guarantee that spending time every day on mindfulness practice will be worth it. It will help you calm your nervousness before an interview or reduce the negative thinking that can occur when your job search is not going as fast you would like.