by Jennie Lee
The benefits of meditation are diverse and well documented, but an interesting one that is often overlooked is the effect meditation has on our productivity levels. Given how competitive the business world is, and the ever-increasing demands on our attention, it is easy to appreciate the value of a tool that can be used anytime, anywhere to enhance performance, and best of all is free and healthy!
Studies show that the more times we are asked to change focus in a day, the higher our stress levels are. Stressed out minds are never productive and eventually start to make mistakes, some of which may be costly to our jobs. Meditation is a simple, natural, and effective method for reducing stress and cultivating the mental clarity we need for efficiency and maximum productivity.
If you have never practiced meditation, you might be wondering how sitting quietly can help you get things done with greater ease and speed. It is because meditation is based on present moment awareness and the ability to focus the mind single pointedly on a chosen thought or technique. In the social media saturated, over-stimulated environment we live in, the mind is in a constant state of scattered restlessness. But if we cultivate the practice of directing our thought to just one thing for a period of time, we create a clear mental field, kind of like restarting our computers now and again, or erasing the history in our browsers. And this helps us operate more efficiently.
Our minds need rest to perform at their highest capacity. They get some each night when we sleep, which is essential of course, but mediation offers a different, conscious rest that is extremely rejuvenating for our creative functions and intuition. Meditative focusing techniques help us to calm restless thoughts and enable the mind to receive intuitive awareness that can provide solutions we would otherwise not have considered.
Mental Benefits of Meditation
- Improves overall brain performance
- Enhances focus
- Increases clarity of thought
- Relieves stress
- Increases creativity
- Combats aging factors such as diminishing memory
- Boosts immune system
- Increases sense of inner peace
Regular practice of meditation increases our ability to concentrate for longer periods of time on one task, which correlates to an increase in productivity because we are not jumping around in our attention. Essentially we are able to do more efficient and extensive work in less time.
Like any other skill, learning to concentrate in meditation is a process and is built over time. It is important to be patient and persistent. Even five minutes of meditation, practiced daily, can make a difference in your life and mental functioning.
Simple Beginner Meditation
Find a comfortable cushion or chair and follow these instructions.
- Turn off the phone and set a timer for 5 minutes.
- Inhale and tense your whole body. Then exhale, release and relax. Repeat 5 times.
- Sit with a straight spine and relax the body.
- Close your eyes and take ten slow deep breaths.
- Take ten more slow breaths in this way: Inhale for count of 10, hold for count of 10, exhale for count of 10.
- Let your breath return to normal.
- Silently in your mind with each inhale say to yourself “I am.”
- Silently in your mind with each exhale say to yourself “here now.”
- I am….here now – with each breath.
- If the mind drifts to other thoughts gently bring it back to the breath.
- When the timer sounds, take another moment to set an intention for a peaceful day.
- Congratulate yourself on doing something simple and wonderful to increase your productivity.
Remember that for meditation to help you become more productive, you need to be consistent with your practice. Be sincere and give your best effort to concentrating on the breath and the affirmation of mindful presence. Do not hold an expectation that you will experience something in a prescribed way, just trust that the effects will come with time and dedication. Meditation is a long-term endeavor, but all effort is progress and soon you will celebrate the improvement in your creative performance.