What is Meditation?
The psychological definition of meditation is ” the practice of turning one’s attention to a single point of reference. It can involve focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase, known as a mantra. In other words, it means pivoting away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment.”
There are many different types of meditation and many different subsets within each category. Whether you prefer chanting a mantra or taking a quick, no-commitment 5-minute session, meditation can be a useful tool for you and your business.
Peter Cooper, the founder of Cooper Investors, attributes his investing abilities to meditation. “Meditation has helped me discard interesting but unnecessary information and focus on the few things that make a difference to long-run investment performance.” Meditation exercises foster increased clarity and focus. A direct result of incorporating meditation into your business practices is a rise in productivity.
Research by Northwestern University suggests that we tend to come up with our greatest insights, epiphanies, and “Aha!” moments when we are in our most meditative and relaxed states of mind. This is likely because meditation encourages divergent thinking–a thought process used to generate ideas by exploring many possible solutions.
Boosts Emotional Intelligence
By implementing meditation in the workplace, you provide your team members with the tools to improve emotional intelligence and exercise good judgment during workplace disputes. By using meditation to ward off the added pressure, workers can enhance emotional intelligence in a collaborative effort with their peers.
In a fast-paced business environment, everyday interactions can induce anxiety & and overwhelming stress. As reported in the Harvard Gazette, a study by the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness revealed that regular meditation actually resulted in decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in the body’s reaction to stress.
Makes You Healthier
If you don’t have enough reasons to start meditating, you’ll be glad to know that meditation makes you healthier. It helps to boost your immunity, reduce blood pressure and, according to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, might help control alcohol and substance abuse.
Incorporating Meditation in Business
Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna began mindfulness-based wellness programs complemented by a study. He says, “We measured heart rate variability to establish stress levels for approximately 250 employees. We put them into quintiles and the highest quintile of stress was spending upwards of $2,000 a year more on health care costs than the average.
We invested in 12 weeks of yoga and mindfulness training in a set of practices established with eMindful and Gary Kraftsow of the American Viniyoga Institute. At the end of that study, we saw dramatic drops in heart rate variability and an increase in presenteeism and productivity. The employee’s journals were the most compelling part; they led us on our discovery to see exactly what factors were causing high-stress levels.”
Incorporating meditation in business has many proven benefits. So how do you get started?
If you own a business, collaborate with upper-management and create a meditation program, and if you work for a company, check out this awesome guide for starting a meditation program in your workplace.