We’re living and working during some pretty challenging times. In our culture, stress is the norm. Too often, our working lives are typified by long days, late-night emails, and unused vacation time. But, more and more, we’re beginning to understand the positive impact of wellness and mindfulness practices. It seems that an awful lot of successful folks make some kind of mindfulness practice a part of their daily routine.
Meditation, one of the most popular of these practices, has many benefits. Maybe that’s why 8 percent of adults in the U.S. are meditating these days. Incorporating a daily meditation practice into your routine could make a big difference in your life and your career.
8 percent of adults in the U.S. meditate. Here's how they might be boosting their career.
1. It’s good for your health.
There are proven health benefits of meditation. Researchers have found that it reduces existing stress, helps us better deal with new stressors, manages pain, and helps us sleep better. Meditation has also been found to be associated with fewer sick days and fewer doctors visits. When we meditate, we give our bodies, and our minds, a chance to rejuvenate and heal.
“The body is either in fight or flight or rest and digest,” said Keina Bryant Worrell, bodymind practitioner and owner of Thoughtful Therapy in Jacksonville Florida, which offers meditation instruction, massage therapy, body talk, and hypnosis, “and the exercise of meditation puts the body in the habit of rest and digest where healing and restoration happen.”
We all have so many tasks to manage in our chaotic lives. Meditation gives us some practice with doing just one thing at a time. The effects last beyond the act of meditation itself, improving the way our brains process information, focus, and solve problems. Also, researchers are yet to find any negative side effects of meditation. How often do you land on a therapy or treatment these days that’s totally risk-free?!
3. It supports happiness, decision-making, and time-management goals.
Meditation supports our happiness and can improve our mood. It shifts our perspective. With less stress, and more calm, focused, attention, we’re allowed more of a bird’s eye perspective. It’s something that takes time, yes, but meditation also saves time down the road.
“You can make better decisions for yourself and for someone else. And, you can respond more appropriately to anything that comes up, good or bad. We can be less impulsive or reactionary because we’re better balanced with our mood,” Worrell told me. “The improved mood and focus allows you to make better decisions. When you’re working from a less stressed or anxious place you’ll make better decisions because you’re not just acting from that moment, you really do have a better big picture understanding of the situation.”
4. It helps us tap into our intuition and wisdom on a deeper level.
Meditation gives us the ability to step back and see the bigger picture, so we’re less attached to our own perspective, or even our own negative emotions like anger. When these thoughts and feeling are kept more appropriately in their place, we’re better able to access information about the best course of action going forward. Once that balance and stability is achieved, it allows for a different kind of clarity. And, that leads to actions that are based more in intuition and in a wiser, more balanced perspective.
“The balance is being in the present moment. That’s the only place where you can effect change on the future and not be holding on to the past,” Worrell said. “You learn from the past to make better decisions in the present. And you plan in the present so as to not be worried about the future.”
5. Meditation supports flow state, creativity, and innovation.
Our brains are actually capable of changing and learning new things when we meditate. The practice supports something scientists call “whole brain thinking.” Meditation, it turns out, is sort of like exercise for the brain. Because of this, a daily practice can also make it easier to achieve flow state, which in turn allows you to be your most creative and innovative.
“Do you have 10 minutes a day that you can sit still and think? In those 10 minutes the brain has neuroplasticity. It can grow and it can change and it can learn new things,” Worrell said. “So, in that 10 minutes you spend each day, your creating new neural structures that allow you to live a better life in the long term.”
Tell Us What You Think
Has meditation helped you in your career? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.