Too. Much. Work.
There are plenty of reasons to get your Om on these days. Aside from the pandemic, Americans are chronically overworked.
Meditation is a vacation for the mind. Everyone feels refreshed after time away from work, and ready to dive into their tasks.
Meditate for a few minutes a day and you’ll be less stressed, more happy, and focused. You’ll get your work done more quickly, thus having more time for more R&R.
After all, when we’re stressed we forget key details, rush through tasks, and get easily agitated by interruptions. That slows us down.
In regular folk terms: Meditation really takes the edge off.
In neurologist lingo: Meditation thickens the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which leads to increased higher-order thinking and ability to attend to tasks with greater focus.
This thickening translates to greater higher order brain function.
Regular meditators enjoy the following benefits:
- Increased concentration and memory
- Greater self-awareness
- Improved decision-making skills
- Less anxiety and depression
It doesn’t take a Phd in neuroscience to be able to make the connection that workers are more productive when they’re able to focus and aren’t anxious.
But neuroscientists do study meditation and scientific studies have conclusively proven that meditation increases productivity and is generally beneficial to workers in a myriad of ways. And CEOs have gotten the memo.
That’s why the C-suite are making meditation an intrinsic part of their professional practice.Just take the CEO of the TLEX Institute, Johann Berlin. He brings mindful leadership training to CEOs and their teams. And they’re seeing great results.
Johann has noticed an increasing interest in many companies using meditation as a way to work on goal-setting, which helps the participants increase their productivity.
Ergo, meditation and productiveness go hand-in-hand.
Speaking of “hand-in-hand,” you can lay one hand on top of the other while meditating to form what’s called a “seal” between the two. (Described in the Bare Bones But Very Beneficial Meditation section.)
The key to being more productive is having laser-sharp focus.
Mindfulness Practice Increases Focus
It may seem contradictory, but sitting and doing nothing, just relaxing one’s mind and body can increase your productiveness.
You don’t have to be a monk, sitting on a mountain to gain key benefits.
When you micro-dose meditation, your attentiveness and calm levels go up.
You don’t need to spend hours immersed in deep meditation to get results.
Even 5-10 minutes a day can relieve stress and relax you enough to feel jazzed about your workday.(It’s recommended to start your day with a short meditation, but any time you can squeeze it in will work.)
There’s mounting empirical evidence that mindfulness exercises positively impact decision-making, the ability to concentrate and overall well-being.
One study conducted an experiment to see if a short breathing exercise increased the effectiveness of scrum meetings.
The results? They discovered that a simple, three-minute breathing exercise improved the participants:
- Active listening
- Interpersonal interactions
- Emotional responses
Those who were in the placebo and control groups did not have the same positive effects as the meditators.
Medical doctors are also recognizing the real, regenerative effects of meditation and recommending it to those who are anxious.
An MD Weighs in on Meditation
Who better to understand the physiological effects of meditation than a medical doctor?
I had the pleasure of speaking with Magda Skopinska, MD on this topic. She is an Ontological Coach and Master Somatic Coach at the LaFol Institute.
She utilizes what is called embodied meditation with her clients. This type of meditation allows the participants to create intentional focus on their own body, emotions, and reactions.
In Dr. Skopinksa’s words:
Being fully present impacts the prefrontal cortex, which calms down the amygdala, responsible to a large extent for our hijacks under pressure. That means that we are able to act more according to what we want instead of being driven by other emotions and reactions to stress.”
Being able to focus on what we want—hitting those work targets and career goals without stress and competing emotions will allow you to be more productive, not only in your daily tasks, but in your professional life.
Ready to start? Which meditation style you choose is a very personal decision.
Let’s Pore Over the Meditation Menu
Selecting the right meditation for your needs can be as overwhelming as picking a meal from The Cheesecake Factory’s extensive menu.
How to choose the best flavor to suit your mental palate? You can do a taste test with various apps:
- Insight Timer
- The Mindfulness App
In 2019, The 10 most popular meditation apps generated $195 million in sales.
One of the greatest things about meditation is that there are no dollar signs attached to it. Plus, it can be done just about anywhere. No commuting necessary.
7 Meditation Flavors to Improve Productivity
- Mindfulness—Awareness of self and surroundings
- Progressive relaxation—Tensing, then relaxing muscles in every section of the body
- Focused—Using your senses to focus on something external
- Movement—Trouble sitting still? Relax the mind while in motion. You can take a walk or practice Tai Chi, any gentle movement works
- Transcendental—Popularized by the Beatles, this is a mantra-based meditationwhich is scientifically proven to increase concentration and improve self-esteem
- Visualization—Have a presentation tomorrow? Visualize it going swimmingly!
- Embodied—Being still and present. You focus on your own emotional and physical reactions. Described in section above.
Bare Bones but Very Beneficial Meditation
Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths. Put all your focus on your breath. Then, return to normal breathing. Think 1 on the inbreath, then 2 for the outbreath, then 3 on the next inbreath…go up to 10. If your mind wanders off, go back to 1.
You get the picture. The goal is to make it to ten without letting your mind wander.
Remember—you don’t need to sign up for an intensive meditation immersion course to increase your cognitive performance and overall productivity!
Make meditation a simple, easy habit to be a successful, productive person.
The benefits of a few minutes per day will amplify your calm, focus, and energy levels. You’ll naturally want to make the most out of your day.