Mindfulness has found its way into mainstream culture, but does it have a place in the business world? Research points to a connection between mindfulness and optimal work performance, specifically the practice of meditation.
Another hidden gem of productivity
According to Frontiers in Psychology, meditation can help you self-regulate your attention spans at work, increase task completion, manage stress levels to decrease the risk of burnout, and strengthen interpersonal collaboration with other team members. It’s yet another hidden gem that can have amazing effects on your productivity.
Therefore, in this installment of The Productivity Box, let’s take a deep dive into how meditation can empower your work performance and maximize productivity.
Focus on the present
The goal of a meditation practice is learning how to tune your mental awareness into where you are and what you’re doing at this precise moment. All too often, the mind is prone to wander or get lost in distractions, which can be a problem at work. If you cannot concentrate for more than a few minutes, you’ll struggle to stay on schedule.
However, a recent study in Scientific Reports found that practicing meditation connects the neural pathways between different cranial regions. This activates whole-brain functionality and makes it easier to focus on the present. So the more you strengthen those neural connections, the easier it will be to redirect your thoughts to the task at hand.
Enhance creativity and flexible thinking
Even if yours is not in a traditionally creative sphere, most work requires you to generate new solutions, ideas, processes, or innovation. That means your creative, flexible thinking must be sharp. According to research in the Thinking Skills and Creativity Journal, meditation teaches you how to open the mind to different perspectives in a curious, non-critical way. That’s why it is a helpful tool for overcoming mental blocks that limit ingenuity.
In fact, those who meditate on a regular basis are often less risk-averse, self-conscious, or afraid of failure than the average person, the research found. This makes them effective learners, experimenters, decision makers, and problem solvers.
When you hit a creative slump in the workday, re-activate those juices with a simple meditation practice.
Revitalize depleted energy levels
Although meditation is usually associated with stillness and relaxation, this practice has also been found to stimulate the brain’s energy reserves in certain lobes, according to the Brain and Behavior Journal. This can help you feel more active and alert on the job, while also increasing your retention skills and sustained attention processing.
This is because the slow, deep, conscious breathing in a meditation practice circulates fresh oxygen to the brain, which rejuvenates cognitive function, this journal indicates. Therefore, since energy will ebb and flow at various points in the day, meditation is a useful tool for refreshing energy depletion or combating waves of fatigue, so you can perform at a higher level.
Promote collaborative work relationships
Since meditation increases self-awareness in the present, those who make it part of their normal routines tend to exhibit more emotional intelligence, The Permanente Journal reports. This research found that meditation helps to reinforce empathy, social connectedness and responsibility, negotiation, and conflict resolution in the workplace.
All of these traits—combined with the sense of curiosity and openness that meditation also instills—can lead to stronger relationships. As a result, you’ll be able to navigate interpersonal team dynamics with both tactfulness and compassion. This will make you a more effective collaborator and communicator overall.
The natural on-the-job stress reliever
Stress and anxiety management is one of the most common meditation benefits. In the workplace, where stress often feels unavoidable, it’s one of the most crucial benefits too. The Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine reveals that a consistent meditation practice can lower physiological markers of stress in the body, such as blood pressure and cortisol levels, while stabilizing mental and emotional responses to stress as well.
For instance, the study points out that those who meditate on a regular basis show less activation in their amygdala, the area of the brain that perceives threat. This makes it easier to process a stressful or anxious situation rationally and implement a constructive solution. What’s more, stress is a main precursor to burnout. Hence, use meditation to relieve stress before it escalates.
Elevate your work performance with meditation
Whether you meditate for a half hour each morning or you squeeze in a five-minute practice during an afternoon break, the cognitive benefits of meditation can be powerful for your work performance.
With increased energy, concentration, awareness, creativity, and emotional intelligence, you’ll be empowered to take on whatever the day has in store.