Prominent Value of Mindfulness for Coping Up with Job Related Stress of Employees who Work in The Finance Sector During the Covid-19

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Prominent Value of Mindfulness for Coping Up with Job Related Stress of Employees who Work in The Finance Sector During the Covid-19

 HPC Wasanta Pathirana1, Ven. Wijithadhamma, Medagampitiye2, WAG Perera3
1Psychology & Counselling Unit, Sri Lanka Foundation Institute
2Professor, Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
3Senior Professor, Department of Philosophy & Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
DOI: https://doi.org/10.51584/IJRIAS.2023.8725
Received: 15 July 2023; Accepted: 19 July 2023; Published: 19 August 2023

Introduction: COVID-19 virus has totally crushed and changed the lives of billions of people in the world. It has arisen as a major epidemiological, economic, and global health crisis (Roychowdhury, 2020). Moreover, the pandemic has infected 232,075,351 individuals and claimed the lives of 4,752,988 people (World Health Organization, 2020). So far, the economic burden of COVID-19 has been estimated to cost between $5.8 and $8.8 trillion (Dennis, 2020), which is expected to plunge most countries into recession (World Bank, 2020). This global pandemic changed the way people live and work before and it triggered one of the worst jobs crises since the great depression (https://www.oecd.org/employment/covid-19.htm) and this crisis was an upsurge of stress in different ways to people who work in various occupations around the world. There has been a significant spike in demand for mindfulness programming since the start of the pandemic (Harrison, P.J., 8 January, 2021). Number of researchers have indicated that introducing mindfulness meditation practice during this pandemic has the potential to complement treatment and is a low-cost beneficial method of providing support with anxiety for all. (Behan, C., 14 May 2020). Mindfulness is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training. (Kabat-Zinn, J., 2013). Many scholarly articles for mindfulness research in the finance sector in covid-19 have highlighted the benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices (‎Behan, C., 2020 May 14).

IJRISS Call for paper

COVID-19 was changed the way people work in Sri Lanka. With lockdown travel restrictions, minimum staff, distant work, and social distance becoming the new rules. In many organizations, these new ways of working were raising challenges and distresses. But In Sri Lankan context, there is yet less research on mindfulness based intervention for addressing the job related stress during the COVID-19 epidemic. Hence, this paper focuses on mindfulness practice as a potential strategy to reduce the stress experienced by the employees who worked in the finance sector during the pandemic.

Keywords: 1) COVID-19, 2) Mindfulness, 3) Job/workplace stress.

I. Background

The new human coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan, China, in 2019. This illness had been reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019. (“Novel Coronavirus Information Center”). In the first months of COVID-19, global health authorities, government agencies, and the public were unsure of how the disease would spread and how it would impact everyday life. On the 1st of March, 2020, the United Nations released $15 million in funds to support the global COVID-19 response. A week later, on the 7th of March, cases of COVID-19 reached 100,000. Several days after that, on the 11th of March, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO. COVID-19 rapidly transformed from being a severe problem seemingly confined to China, to a global health emergency almost overnight. By September 2021, nearly two years after COVID-19 was first recognized, there had been more than 200 million confirmed cases and over 4.6 million people lost their lives from this virus. The first case of the virus in Sri Lanka was confirmed on 27 January 2020, the Sri Lankan government announced a lockdown and on 14 March, the government declared 16 March 2020 a national public holiday to contain the pandemic. On 19 March, the government extended the public holiday to eight days from 20 March to 27 March to both private and public sectors as a remedy to confront the coronavirus pandemic. The Sri Lanka government commended the public to work at home and declared a “work from home period” for those days and since then many government and private sector employees had to work from home. COVID-19 is driving persons in the world to live and work in different ways than they live before. COVID-19 is changing the way people work, with lock down, travel restrictions, minimum staff, distant work, and social distance becoming the new rules. In many organizations, these new ways of working are raising challenges and distresses. For employees in many organizations, this was a time of great uncertainty.