This week’s blog will be looking at ways meditation can benefit work performance. In recent years, there has been a surge in interest in wellness practices such as yoga, breathwork and, of course, meditation. Some of the many health benefits include improved sleep quality, reduced anxiety, and an overall boost for mental health. As such, it stands to reason that meditation could also have significant advantages within the workplace. Here are 4 ways meditation can boost your professional effectiveness.
1. Meditation can improve focus and productivity
The art of meditation teaches people to focus on breathing and train their mind not to wander. This skill can then be applied at work, to help avoid distraction and concentrate on the task at hand. Research indicates that just a single 15-minute session can reduce mind-wandering by over 20%. Additionally, a Harvard Medical School study found that an 8-week course of mindfulness meditation practice had a biological effect, thickening cortisol that supports memory and learning capacity. All of which could lead to a significant boost in how productive we are at the office.
2. Meditation can reduce stress levels
According to the Labour Force Survey, in 2019-20 over 800,000 workers in Great Britain suffered from anxiety, depression and stress, leading to nearly 18 million working days lost due to absence. Not to mention, that the Covid-19 pandemic, furlough and business closures has done little to alleviate work-related stress. Research has shown that meditation and breathwork can:
- Decrease the neurological connection to the area of the brain responsible for stress, anxiety, and fear
- Increase the response of the brain’s ‘grey matter’, helping to better regulate emotions and problem solve
- Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, positively influencing stress-related biological responses such as reducing the heart rate
- Help to reduce spikes in the stress hormone, cortisol
3. Meditation helps foster positive professional relationships
Whether in the form of improved teamwork with fellow office workers, or better communication with stakeholders, meditation can help foster positive professional relationships. High-pressure or stressful situations can make us cranky, more short-tempered, and resistant to suggestion; all of which does not bode well for good collaboration. Meditation has been proven to boost compassion, reduce aggression and irritability. Ultimately making us all much more pleasant to be around!
4. Meditation can lead to better decision making
At some point or another we have all had to make a decision under pressure. Typically, these decisions are often not our best. Meditation aims to:
- Clear and focus the mind
- Increase blood and oxygen flow
- Regulate our heart rates
- Improve mental energy
- Alleviate stress and anxiety
- Reduce fatigue and improve sleep
As a result, we can make better decisions for ourselves, our staff, our business and our customers.
How can organisations introduce meditation to work
There are many ways that organisations are introducing meditation at work. From management incorporating it into pre-meeting preparation, to companies designating five-minute breaks for staff to reconnect and refocus. You could introduce a breakout space where staff can practice. Or perhaps share positive mantras as a team to encourage cohesive working.
Alternatively, offer your staff membership to a mindfulness app to help support their mental wellbeing. Contrary to popular belief, you can begin to benefit from meditation after just one session and studies show that it can have significant positive results for productivity and performance. So, however you go about inviting meditation into your working day, it is likely to be a worthwhile venture.