It doesn’t matter what you do for a living—odds are at some point in your life, work has been stressful. Whether you have to worry about managing your clients, meeting a deadline or pleasing a difficult boss, maintaining your mental health and meditating, especially during a stressful work week, is crucial to your productivity and well-being.
There are many reasons to incorporate meditation into your weekly routine, but here are just a few reasons why you may want to be sure to block out time during your busy week for some good, old-fashioned “me time.”
1. Meditation improves cognition, concentration and productivity.
Time and time again, data has shown that meditating, even for just five minutes a day, can improve your memory, cognition, concentration and productivity.
According to Lisa Takeuchi Cullen’s 2006 article for TIME Magazine, “How to Get Smarter, One Breath at a Time,” people who meditate claim the practice “restores their energy, allowing them to perform better at tasks that require attention and concentration.
As evidence to her claim, Cullen’s cites a University of Kentucky study in which students were asked to either meditate, sleep, or watch television prior to taking a test. She noted that those who had been asked to meditate performed 10 percent better on average. Ultimately, meditation serves as a way to restore synapses in the way that sleep does, but without the feeling of being tired.
Much like the University of Kentucky study, science suggests that setting aside fifteen to thirty minutes a day during the workday can dramatically improve your concentration, giving you the fuel you might need to get through the day. After all, one hour of productive work will yield better results than two hours of unproductive work. Assuming your place of employment affords you the time, incorporating a quick meditation session into your lunch break is the key to productivity.
Don’t have fifteen to thirty minutes? Try getting to work a little bit early, closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing pattern before you begin the day. If that is not possible, figure out your own method for an express meditation session—whether it be during your commute to work or the five minutes between meetings, meditating will enhance your performance.
2. Meditation will make you happier.
It happens to the best of us—something goes wrong in our personal lives and all of a sudden, being productive at work seems like an impossible task. Unfortunately, the world does not stand still when you are going through a breakup or fighting with a close friend.
While on particularly stressful days you may want to consider cashing in on that Mental Health Day you have been meaning to take, not everyone has the luxury to take time off from work. Your next best option is to meditate, giving yourself a moment to relax, process your stress, acknowledge your emotions, and move forward.
There are plenty of theories (i.e. The Law of Attraction), and even religious teachings (such as Buddhism), that suggest the energy you project onto the universe will be the energy you receive in return. Meditation, therefore, can be used as a tool to not only project positive energy but also attract it.
There is also something to be said about the strong links between meditation and our mood. Meditation has been known to help curb anxiety and depression by training your brain to react to stressful situations more positively. OneJohns Hopkins study even presents evidence that meditation may rival antidepressants in terms of effectiveness.
No matter what life throws at you, incorporating time to meditate into your busy schedule can improve your mood and there is no question that happier employees tend to be more productive.
3. Meditating is good for your health.
According to a study in the Annals of Family Medicine, people who meditate miss fewer days of work from respiratory infections—and those who do get sick tend to experience shortened and less severe symptoms. The study also notes that meditators are 40 to 50 percent less likely to get sick than those who do not meditate.
There is an overwhelming amount of data to support the claim that meditation is not just good for your mental health, it is also good for your physical health. Meditating has many benefits and can help you accomplish amazing feats—like strengthening your immune system and lowering your blood pressure. On the flip side, excess stress can negatively impact your physical well-being.
If you begin to incorporate meditation into your weekly work routine, odds are you will become an all-around better employee. There may be no way to completely avoid the many stresses of your job, but there is a positive way to manage the stress—meditation. Setting aside the time to take a breather can and will make you more productive, happier and healthier—the perfect recipe for any great employee.
To help you meet your mediation goals, please try our new M-Goals Meditation Timer app.