March 22, 2016
Meditation isn’t just a New Age tool; it is as important to your well-being as eating right or exercising. Many studies have shown how drastic the benefits of meditation truly are, revealing that mindfulness is more relevant to the workplace than you may think. Here are some tips on how to get through your day like a yogi, while being as productive as a master of the universe.
Mindfulness, or the ability to remain fully present of your physical body, is suggested to sharpen attention, memory and emotional intelligence.
Meditation is an integral part of life for even the busiest of people, CEOs and senior executives. Many CEOs are drawn to meditation for its benefit of developing leadership skills, and internal mindfulness courses are being created with the intent of “creating agile and flexible mindsets as a foundation for leadership.” Meditation provides you with the stamina to balance patience, flexibility and an ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
A study from Harvard that examined the relationship between a wandering mind and happiness revealed that the mind wanders about 46.9 percent of the time. This statistic, along with everyday work interruptions from phone calls and emails, paints a dark picture of the lack of focus that exists at many workplaces. Fortunately, mindfulness is not only useful for business leaders to better manage their day. Studies have found that mindfulness training improved working memory capacity as well as the ability to stay focused and avoid distractions.
Increased mindfulness practice has also been shown to increase gray matter density in the brain, ultimately changing the organ’s structure. In an eight-week test where participants meditated for 30 minutes a day, MRI scans revealed an increase in gray matter in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for learning and memory, and a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, an area connected with anxiety and stress. Perhaps the benefits of meditation are best displayed in monks, whose brain scans reveal an overwhelmingly enhanced neural coordination, “connected to higher mental activity and heightened awareness.”
The modern workplace benefits greatly from mindfulness practice and meditation by increasing the ability to make better business decisions. A study suggests that those who practiced meditation were 77 percent more likely to resist what is termed as sunk-cost bias, or the trend to stick with a less-than-optimal business strategy just because more money has been spent on it.
The results of mindfulness are overwhelmingly positive and lead to better work performance and quality of life. Even better, it is simple to get started! At the beginning of every workday, spend a few minutes observing your surroundings and focusing on your breath. That’s all it takes. Being aware of where you are will ground you and prevent you from getting caught up in your thoughts. Another useful tip is to focus on your hands and remain fully present of them. Likewise, there is a plethora of great resources at your disposal, from books to CDs to podcasts, which can help you re-center on your meditation efforts. Focusing on the present will not only increase your productivity, but will allow you to connect with your sense of self.