The Benefits Of Meditation At Work

The typical American workday is no longer the standard 9 to 5. With the prevalence of digital devices and the expectation that we’re always connected and thus always available, working day stresses can begin as soon as you open your eyes, roll over and see 35 unread emails from a panicked late night company project thread.

If we’re not careful, small work anxieties can harden into major career dissatisfaction. It’s no surprise that a vast majority of Americans – 80 percent – feel stressed at their jobs. Almost half also admit to needing help managing workplace stress.

Meditation is a natural way to re-wire the brain, changing its relationship with anxiety triggers and actually leading to greater work performance and an elevated sense of purpose over time.  But the path to mindfulness is not a part-time gig – it requires discipline and routine. The good news is that daily meditation practice can be done in the time it takes to make your morning coffee run.

Taking a guided meditation class, or even finding a few minutes to lead yourself through a breathing exercise, is not actually an “escape” from work. Those five minutes to a half hour (or however long you choose to meditate) are designed for all the rest of the time you’re not spending meditating. Mindful living is all about the “living” part, after all.

The benefits of meditation apply to nearly every aspect of every job. Actively training your brain to be alert and present in the moment aids in memory recall and attention to detail – great for those client meet and greets. Studies have shown that meditation also leads to more restful sleep, so replacing caffeine with purposeful breathing can make mornings more productive. The list goes on.

When you’re focused on the task at hand, you’re not letting the stresses of tomorrow’s presentation or next week’s performance review cloud your mind. Through the practice of listening to your own body, you’ll naturally become a better listener to others and achieve the mental clarity needed to make good decisions.

For business leaders, guided meditation practice can help you be more in tune with the needs of your employees, allowing for more transparent communication and a more harmonious environment. Plus, managers and executives who allow stress to get to them are prone to more emotional decisions, which can lead to disaster.

Companies often look for ways to improve office culture, and while events, happy hours and game rooms can be fun ways to break up the monotony, they don’t carry the same afterglow of a meditation session. Meditation is often stigmatized as “doing nothing,” which is not what businesses want to hear their employees are engaged in. Of course, that generalization is misguided, and companies are increasingly carving out small windows – as little as ten minutes can be effective if done consistently – during the day for mindfulness training.

If you’re feeling the weight of the workday constantly on your shoulders, you don’t have to carry that burden forever. There is plenty of time in the day for mental fitness, and the carry-over effect of meditation will make you a better, more innovative, more focused person – both in the office and out of it.