Meditation is a practice that trains our awareness and helps us grow a healthy perspective of the world around us. This, in turn, cultivates a state of mind that is more balanced and peaceful, which positively contributes to our well-being.
Meditation is practiced by between 200 and 500 million people around the world; with this number growing more and more each day thanks to initiatives such as workplace mindfulness training, as well as studies recording the benefits that meditation has in schools.
One of the reasons that meditation has become increasingly popular in the workplace in recent years is its benefits on our productivity. Here are some of the reasons why and how meditation can help us be more productive.
The first benefit of meditation is its ability to make us more mindful. To be mindful means to be more attentive and aware of our surroundings, allowing us to take more care of the things we do, say, and experience. To be productive is to act on our ability to create in abundance and this is elevated by being mindful in the present moment.
Whether we are in a meeting, researching a new project, or simply writing an email to a colleague or friend; an increased state of awareness will allow us to make more meaningful connections and, in turn, cultivate better solutions. We will be able to add more valuable information to that meeting, find connections in our research that would make or break the project, and nurture a relationship that is worthy of any penpal!
Mindfulness not only increases productivity but allows us to be more in touch with ourselves, guiding us towards better decision making which results in a happier and more fulfilled lifestyle.
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The American Institute of Stress did a recent study and found out that over 80 percent of Americans experience stress in the workplace. This may lead to negative side effects on our health such as the increased risk of heart attacks, more frequent anxiety, headaches, heartburn, insomnia, and high blood pressure to name a few. Whatsmore, stress also decreases our productivity while increasing the likelihood of making mistakes.
Meditation is proven to reduce stress and increase relaxation, even when we aren’t actively meditating. A relaxed state allows us to be more mindful and not be as overwhelmed with the daily stresses that life throws our way, meaning that we can be more productive while enjoying ourselves in the process.
Memory and productivity go hand in hand. We decrease our likelihood of productivity as we spend more time flipping through schedules, meeting notes, and emails – wasting valuable moments that could be better spent elsewhere.
Studies show that meditation increases memory by increasing the working memory capacity (which is the amount of information held and processed in the central nervous system at any time) while decreasing the time spent evaluating new information; both being key factors to productivity performance.
Boosted cognitive thinking
It’s no secret that as we age, our cognitive thinking starts to deteriorate. Cognitive thinking is our ability to recall, reason, and process information, which is deeply rooted in our potential for productivity. Furthermore, cognitive processes such as thinking and learning are affected – likely the inspiration for the old saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’
However, we are not powerless to the effects of age as meditation has been proven to support our cognitive process in the brain, increase our attention span, heighten our focus, improve concentration, and reaffirm motivation.
This is achieved through meditation’s impressive ability to increase neuroplasticity, helping the brain create new neurons and mental connections by increasing the grey matter volume in the brain. Not only does this change the brain’s structure but synchronizes both brain hemispheres to allow for improved processing power in the form of neural communication. This added activity and blood flow also mean that the brain receives additional nourishment.
Now that we are aware of these impressive benefits that meditation brings to our lives and work, we are one step closer to creating a consistent practice so we may continuously reap these rewards in our daily activities.