By now, you probably have read or heard stories about how meditation improved the lives of millions of people, independently of what "ism" they followed, call it Buddhism, Hinduism, or even atheism.
From being ignored by science for centuries due to its religious background to becoming the object of research of several studies that confirmed its power and efficiency, this ancient technique has proven to be one of the most effective methods to induce calmness in our busy minds and awaken a sense of peace and relaxation in our everyday life.
Still, there are many misconceptions related to meditation in general.
Some people might think that it consists of sitting quietly in a room wearing white clothes or singing the names of Indian gods and goddesses
In truth, meditation goes beyond such ideas, as it varies in forms depending on the traditions it comes from. Classic sitting, walking meditation, mindfulness, self-inquiry, and prayer are simple examples of such diversity.
Teachers and people who have practised meditation for years assure us that its effects permeate our lives even amid regular daily activity and do not finish when the gong rings.
Can regular meditation practice truly change your life? How can you apply its benefits to your workplace? Can it also make you and your team more creative and productive?
In this article, such valid questions and their answers will be explored deeply so you can have a clear image of what this ancient method could bring to your work life regarding productivity and the general well-being of your workspace.
What is meditation?
According to Eckhart Tolle, a contemporary meditation master:
"Whenever you step out of the noise of thinking, that is meditation, and a different state of consciousness arises."
We live in a society that has forgotten to teach us how to step out from our mental noise. On the contrary, it has pushed us manically to do more, work harder, and produce more results without considering that such an approach could bring more stress and suffering to our minds and, therefore, our lives.
Such a reality helps us understand why meditation is vital nowadays. It allows us to care for our mental health by cultivating a space within ourselves where relaxation and simplicity are possible, even amid work-related stress situations.
Taking a few moments to be alone and take deep breaths daily will help us reconnect with ourselves in the present moment, be happier and take things easier, enabling us to gain emotional intelligence and inner wisdom to handle challenging situations from a space of non-reactivity.
Mindfulness and meditation strengthen our capacity to detach from our expectations, have more compassion toward ourselves and the world, and love ourselves unconditionally.
Does it sound great? Well, there is more.
How does meditation improve productivity?
Continuing with Eckhart Tolle:
"When your attention moves into the Now, there is an alertness. It is as if you were waking up from a dream, the dream of thought, the dream of past and future. Such clarity, such simplicity. No room for problem-making. Just this moment as it is."
Indeed, meditation not only helps you become free from mental suffering but also helps you become an excellent problem-solver with a sharp, clear, and straightforward awareness that emerges when making important decisions—an extraordinary ability for any business enterprise.
Several studies published in the last ten years confirm such a statement.
A scientific study by the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement in 2018 discovered that a single session of mindfulness meditation daily could improve creative thinking and innovation, helping to increase overall productivity.
Another study published in the Mindfulness journal in 2021 found that a 4-week mindfulness meditation program significantly improved cognitive control and working memory.
Indeed, mindfulness and meditation help you, your co-workers, and your employees improve positive thinking, concentration capacity, and stress reduction related to your workload. It also diminishes the importance of external distractions and boosts creativity, allowing you to develop high-quality ideas for your business anytime.
How does it make you more creative? It helps you tap into an immense creative reservoir within yourself that remains dormant most of the time. Apart from an imaginative quality, this inner source also brings calmness, stillness, fulfilment, and an increased sense of awe and wonder for life.
Such a source is our true nature beyond what we believe ourselves to be.
But let's not get too deep into it for now. Let's speak practically about how to make meditation part of your life.
How to add meditation into your routine?
The truth is that meditation may be difficult at the beginning. However, this is okay as it will show us the goal-oriented characteristic of our minds, always looking for an easy formula to give us quick results and eliminate all our issues.
However, once you go through such an attitude and stay focused and committed to daily practice, you will slowly develop a highly precious value: discipline.
Such value will not only help you accept and transcend your mind and find peace within but also will help you achieve your life goals through a methodic step-to-step mindset and give you freedom from becoming overwhelmed by uncertainty.
These are great pieces of advice to introduce meditation into your life smoothly:
1. Start slowly.
Our minds have such high ideals and objectives for most of the things we do, and we might apply such high standards to meditation regarding the length of the sessions and the first results they may bring. Our invitation is to avoid falling into this trap, especially at the beginning.
In truth, a daily short meditation session of 5-10 minutes is far more valuable than a one-time one-hour sitting. Constant repetition is a great tool when building a new habit, and a short but regular meditation practice will help you enjoy taking time off to sit on your own and create the perfect space to be with yourself.
2. Early morning: Best time to practise meditation.
Indeed, finding the best time in the day to meditate is primordial. Early mornings are great because our minds are usually calm, free from the saturation of our agendas, and available to tap into the serenity within.
Once you start the day breathing deeply and tapping into the stillness within, you will soon realise what a difference it makes. It will help you manage stress and provide sharpness, accuracy, and detachment to your daily activities.
Try for yourself. When you wake up tomorrow morning, do a simple 5-minute deep breathing session, and you will see how the rest of your day changes for the better.
3. Use a meditation app.
It is highly recommended to use a meditation app to support your practice. Apps such as Insight Timer or Head Space now come with exciting features such as a meditation timer, a follow-up process, and guided meditations from different traditions to help you quickly build your practice.
4. Go beyond the mind's obstacles.
When you start a meditation program or practice, your mind might come up with different reasons not to meditate. Thoughts such as "I don't have time for it today," "this is not working; I should try something else," or "meditation is not made for me" are very common, and such beliefs need to be overcome if you want to enjoy the fruits of this practice. So, please do not worry or act on them when they appear. They are just mind resistances to a new healthy habit.
As it works with every style of exercise or practice, you must have discipline and patience to enjoy the fullness of all the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.
Successful meditation stories.
Many world-renowned CEOs, Wall Street brokers, and famous artists, who are avid meditation practitioners, have encouraged their employees, co-workers, and followers to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into their daily routines as a helpful way to prevent burnout and remain centred regardless of external circumstances.
Joe Rogan, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, David Lynch, Ariana Huffington, Paul McCartney, and Bob Shapiro, among many others, are living proof that this ancient practice helps us to direct our energy into getting things done and succeeding in the process.
In an article published on her website, Oprah Winfrey spoke about the transition between formal meditation practice to moment-to-moment presence:
"So, although I'm a big proponent of formal meditation—for the discipline, joy, and calm it brings—I'm moving into an even greater phase of being fully present all the time. It's a heightened state of being that lets whatever you're doing be your best life, from moment to astonishing moment."
Meditation: an excellent practice for your work and life.
From becoming more aware of your thought patterns and emotional reactions and finding more freedom from them to boosting your productivity, creative quality, and problem-solving responses, meditation has proven to be one of the most remarkable techniques to improve many aspects of your life.
Some of the most successful CEOs have become committed practitioners and encouraged meditation at work due to the vast benefits this ancient practice brings to their lives and business endeavours.
Therefore, if you wish to prevent burnout, find stability and centeredness, and improve the quality of your responses, meditation is exactly what you need.
At Lento, we just finished testing internally our new Lento Wellness Program, in which meditation plays a vital role.
We are already enjoying the effects of this practice in our lives and the quality of the service we deliver to our clients.
The good news is that we are building this service to share it with our clients so that they can also benefit from mindfulness and meditation in their work environment.
Get in touch us if you want to know how the Lento Wellness Program can benefit you and your team. We will be happy to help you and your colleagues to become more centred, harmonious, and at peace from the inside out.