It’s Monday morning and you have a million things to do. You’ve got meetings, deadlines, and a full inbox you’ve got to get through. Meditation is probably the last thing on your mind. If you’re not sold on the positive effects of meditation, and you’re already overwhelmed by tasks, then it might be hard for you to justify committing 20 minutes a day to sitting in silence and thinking about nothing.
With a million things to think about, who has time to sit around thinking about nothing?
It’s counterintuitive for many people, but committing at least 20 minutes a day to meditation can actually save you time. Studies have revealed the many healthy effects of meditation, including less anxiety, stress, and depression but meditation also has a big effect on work productivity. Meditation saves time and increases productivity by allowing you to procrastinate less, improving your quality of sleep, “defragmenting” your mind, and helping you to refocus your energy on the important things. When you take the time to clear your mind, you help to create a space of clarity. You waste less time fighting through hundreds of thoughts that are competing for your attention at any given time. With a clear mind, you are less distracted and more able to focus on tasks at hand.
It turns out meditation is not just a “state of mind.” Neuroimaging studies have shown an increase in cerebral blood flow during meditation. Quite literally, meditation changes your mind. If our imagination can change our perception of reality, then reducing stress levels through meditation can help you create a more peaceful, more productive reality. Meditation can have a profound and lasting effect on the way we think and how we experience events and that may be one of the most valuable health benefits of meditation.
The Effects of Meditation on Productivity
It’s becoming a more common business practice to implement meditation into the work day. Companies that have done so have discovered that meditative practice not only makes employees more compassionate and less stressed, it also increases productivity. Research shows our brains are not built for multitasking, despite our endless efforts to do more than one thing at a time. The most productive people are those who can switch between tasks quickly, shifting focus without becoming distracted. If you’re trying to do too much at once, you will most likely accomplish very little. One of the effects of meditation is the ability to shut out distractions and concentrate on one thing at a time.
What About the Effects of Meditation on Relationships?
Meditation can be great for increasing work productivity, but it also helps you build strong professional and personal relationships. Another valuable effect of meditation is that it helps you learn to resist urges, and having good impulse control can greatly improve your relationships. When you learn to resist urges you make better, more thoughtful decisions and you’re more likely to approach others with compassion. When you meditate, you practice impulse control, which has the added benefit of training your brain in the ability to change bad habits. This means that through meditation, you can rewire your brain for new habits, like tackling each challenge with a positive attitude as opposed to lashing out at co-workers and family members in times of stress.
There is no shortage of successful people who meditate, all of whom attribute a large part of their success to regular meditation. Not only does meditation help you to make thoughtful decisions with a clear mind, it also helps increase your emotional intelligence and social connections, which can be invaluable to people in leadership roles. Leading with compassion can create an environment where creativity thrives, and creativity is paramount in good problem-solving skills. Meditation also helps you rise above negative interactions with coworkers and strengthen your relationships within the workplace.
Historically, our culture tends to place value on “getting things done” at any cost. The cult of the busy values those who appear constantly stressed out and busy, more than those who take a mindful approach to their work. Fortunately, new evidence is shedding light on the myth that busy equals good. More CEOs and leaders are now incorporating meditative practices into their work day and cultivating a work environment that is more compassionate, creative and in turn, productive.