By this point you’ve heard a lot about meditation, maybe you’ve even tested it out yourself a time or too. But the question for many remains, does meditation work? The simple answer is yes, and when all the great things about it are taken into account, sticking with a regular meditation routine can make you a better employee as well. Here’s why.
There a ton of proven health benefits from meditation which include but aren’t limited to lower blood pressure, less pain, increased immune function, healthier heart function, less chance of losing brain cells as you age, a decrease of anxiety and stress, and an influx of positive emotions overall.
One specific work-related study even found that people who meditate are 77 percent more likely to resist something called the “sunk-cost bias” than people who don’t. The sunk-cost bias is the idea that if a lot of money is already invested in something that it makes sense to see it through even if it’s on the wrong course. But that’s not always true, and anyone who’s a great employee or takes on a leadership role is going to be able to use those types of strong thought process at work.
Meditation really does make people happy, and people who are happy are way more productive and make healthier decisions that are going to support their well-being even more. You can even look at the fact that people who are happy are going to a lot more likely to only stay at jobs that make them feel good. We don’t always have the option to quit jobs on a whim to try something new, but we’re rarely without options completely. Lack of options tends to come from a place of limited beliefs, which don’t exist if you can figure out how to decide that they don’t. If one person can figure out how to do something amazing, then all of us can. There are different scopes of amazing, but you get the point. You can even try walking meditation!
We’re exposed to so many different things in a workday; it’s no surprise that we might experience some sort of stress or anxiety as we go along. Learning mindful meditation is one of best ways to deal with that since as your practice goes along the mind gets better at focusing on the present moment and not thinking ahead. If you think about, what’s happening at the moment just is. It’s the anticipation about what comes next or the judgment about what was that’s really what’s bugging us.
Meditators have better control over the functions of their body such as breathing as well, which means that you might be able to keep your heart rate in check too. When we do experience challenges, the last thing you want to do is lose your cool since that just exacerbates the problem. Meditation is a single task activity, and practicing that makes it easier for you to focus when you’re doing other things as well. We tend to be more productive when we can focus on our tasks, now don’t we.
A regular meditation practice might also be able to make your creativity open up. The more focused we are on out tasks, the more room there is in the brain for creative solutions to pop up. Steve Jobs was a big meditator, and some people think that’s where a lot of his creativity came from. Meditation has also been found to help people resolve issues with other people at work, and since those are inevitable at some point it’s great to have some protection in the matter. People who meditate tend to go into a relaxed state in conflict as opposed to a fight or flight one when stress comes along. Relaxed brains tend to think of problem-solving suggestions as opposed to calling someone a name.
If you’re new to the concept of meditation, don’t worry it’s easy enough. There are a lot of different ways to do it, but the most general way is to sit quietly and focus on a single word while you breathe in and out. Most people don’t last too long at the beginning but that’s okay, it gets better. It’s a common misconception that when you meditate that you should be trying to clear all of your thoughts. The thing is, that’s impossible for most people, and if you think that’s the goal you’re going to feel like a failure and that’s pretty much the opposite of the point. The thing is that when you meditate you will start to experience gaps between those thoughts, which is where the magic happens. Your mind gets some blissful breaks, and then the good stuff starts coming from it.
Some companies even encourage meditation. Google, Apple, Nike, and Yahoo are some of them who either offer meditation classes or one on one opportunity. Those companies certainly seem to be pretty good at encouraging productivity, and they know that meditation is one way to do it. So does meditation work? Yes. But go ahead and test it out for a while and see for yourself.
Written by Kate Ferguson.