Is Meditation Good for Productivity?

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I quite like getting distracted. In fact, just this morning I was wonderfully distracted by the new TV adaptation of the epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. But, as my writing this intro slightly later than planned would attest, distraction can be an enemy of productivity.  

There’s mounting evidence that meditation can help increase your ability to focus and direct your attention. This alone would make it worthy of further investigation, especially in a world where competition in business is increasing enormously.

If you want to keep your job, being productive and innovative is the way to go. But how do you clear your mind and reduce stress so that you can become more efficient? Mindfulness and other forms of meditation may hold the answers you’re searching for.

Let’s answer the question.

It seems so. Meditation can help alleviate anxiety, re-energise you, improve your mood and enhance your ability to concentrate. It may be said that practicing regular mindfulness meditation can make you more efficient, by helping to refresh your energies and giving you perspective. By having improved focus, a calmer head, a creative approach to problem-solving, and a more accepting attitude to others in the workplace — all things meditation can give you — you can really boost your productivity. It’s worth noting that more research needs to be conducted to discover more about mindfulness and its complex relationship with traits like creativity.

Later, we’ll discover more about the benefits of meditation. First, though, let’s define what meditation actually is.

What is meditation?

Meditation is about achieving a state of mind in which you’re thinking of nothing. It’s thought to be a gateway to cosmic energy. When you meditate, it should help clear your mind. The clarity of thought this can give you means you could lead a much less stressful life.

Meditation is an effective way to boost your productivity. Why? Well, when you’re calm, relaxed, and stress-free, your mind will work more effectively. The more creative side of our brains, which generates new ideas, will likely be more active when you meditate regularly. That means you’ll be able to come up with new ideas and designs for your business. It may seem strange to think you can become more efficient just by sitting quietly by yourself. Nevertheless, it’s true. Practicing meditation for just a short time can make your whole day better.

Now let’s explore some of the benefits of meditation.

How can meditation help you?

Not all the benefits I’ve listed are directly related to productivity, but those which you could classify as health benefits could have good, if indirect, consequences for your personal efficiency in the workplace. Thus, I’ve included them for you.

  • Helps you recharge. Just 30 minutes of meditation per day is enough to help you feel energised.
  • It can improve your memory and focus, perhaps as a result of increased blood flow to the brain.
  • It will likely increase your level of creativity.
  • There is evidence that meditation slows the aging process, reduces blood pressure and may even boost your immune system.
  • You’ll be able to plan more effectively.
  • It helps relieve stress and can cost nothing.

Given these benefits, it should go without saying that if you’ll devote a little time and effort to this, you’ll soon be able to get more done in less time. Later, I’ll share some simple steps of meditation with you. For now, it’s time to have a more in-depth look at its advantages.

Advantages of meditation: A deeper dive

You might be wondering why I’ve chosen to go into a little more detail. I felt that one or two of the benefits I’ve already sketched merited being fleshed out a little more. Also, I’ve added two benefits that may still have a positive impact on your productivity, despite seeming to have little to do with it at first glance. They aim to help you feel happier, and as I’ve suggested before, being happy can increase your productivity.   

You’ll improve your focus and will get distracted less.

Researchers at the Columbia University Irving medical centre have looked into the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, as part of a study into how such practices might help us cope with heightened anxiety levels caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  They’ve claimed that practicing meditation and mindfulness improves our attention span and ability to focus. This is supported by research conducted by Sara Lazar and others — in association with Harvard University — which suggested that doing regular meditation can alter the structure of the brain, specifically, the part most closely linked to working memory and attention. If this study is given credence, it could have massive implications for productivity in the workplace.

Why though?

Working memory is vital because it helps guide our decisions, reasoning, and behaviour. It’s especially useful in high-stress work environments. That’s where an enhanced ability to focus for just a little longer than usual may prove an invaluable asset. It’s also likely to increase your efficiency and improve your time management.  

Enhance your ability to solve problems creatively.

The possibility of a link existing between mindfulness meditation and creativity has long been investigated. More recent research — by Danah Henrikesen and others — supports the notion such a link exists, but stated the need for more nuanced work to be done, as both mindfulness and creativity are highly complex characteristics, within which multiple factors interact with each other.

One such nuanced study was undertaken in 2017. It found that a single 10-minute meditation session helped workers come up with a broader range of solutions to a problem. This suggests that the more often somebody meditates, the more open they are to creative, original, and bold ideas.

Boost your mood and relieve your anxiety.  

By continuously engaging in meditation, you can reduce anxiety and improve your mood. One study found a link between longer-term use of a meditation app (more than 10 sessions) and a more positive mood, along with an increase in patience and positivity. Meditating each day could help you carry this optimism into the workplace and produce a noticeable uptick in your efficiency.

There is also some evidence that meditation can produce small, but significant drops in your blood pressure, which is excellent news for your overall health.

Foster relationships.

Learning to be more mindful can benefit others as well as yourself. It can lead to improvements in friendships as well as work relationships, thanks in part to a better expression of emotions and clearer communication. As you become more in tune with your emotions through meditation, relationships are likely to become easier to maintain. People who practice meditation generally find it easier to show acceptance of others. They’re also more likely than others to report feeling grateful for the environment they’re in and for other peoples’ roles in their lives. This may go a long way towards creating a welcoming feel in the workplace. That, in turn, will help to improve individual and team productivity.  

Photo by Oluremi Adebayo on Pexels.com

How do you meditate?

The idea at the core of meditation is that you need to focus on your breathing.

Here’re some steps you can follow.

  1. Sit up straight on a plain surface.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Concentrate on breathing in and out.
  4. Keep your mind calm and breathe naturally. This should be effortless, so don’t put yourself under any pressure.

Don’t worry if you lose focus at first. Just keep trying. It might be tricky when you first try it out, but you just need to practice to get the hang of it. If you do lose focus, all you need do is bring your attention back to your breathing — each inhale and exhale — until the period of meditation has elapsed. Successful meditation is all about attention, concentration and relaxation.

If you’re new to this, it may be a good idea to go for guided meditation as a way to begin. There’re many guided meditation programs available online including those offered by Calm and Headspace. With enough practice, you’ll soon find it easier to focus and start enjoying meditation.

It will be well worth investing some time in meditation to help improve your productivity, in addition to helping you maintain your focus and energy levels throughout the working day.

Summary

We’ve covered what meditation is and some of its advantages. But the true joy of meditation is that only when you try it out can you discover what it can truly do for you. So why not make use of the steps I’ve given here as a jumping off point? You never know. Practicing meditation may help you unlock hidden potential and do a lot more for you than just boost your productivity.    

Published by Lizzie

Lizzie here. I'm a freelance copywriter and editor based in the UK. I'm also passionate about volunteering and hold a MA in History from the University of Warwick. I've written for a multitude of fantastic websites and companies, including a legal automation software company, a dog training site and more. Check out my reviews on Fiverr and Upwork for more info!

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