This is a tough topic to narrow down into one entry, but for today’s Mental Health Monday we are going to delve into the buzz around meditation. Specifically, why meditation is no longer reserved for yogis and therapists. No it’s for you entrepreneurs, business professionals, real estate agents, and all hard-working individuals seeking to maximize potential.
This quick 3 minute video offers a funny (but true) introduction to the world of meditation along with a chance to see who’s using it.
This topic is timely for many reasons—one of which being that just today Philly.com featured a piece about a local business leader who emphasizes mediation and self-awareness and highlighted the benefits to her business and employees. We know now that meditation is a widely-used practice not only to effectively treat anxiety and depression, but also for competitive professional athletes looking to gain an edge, soldiers in combat, students in demanding academic settings, and hopefully maybe we can make a believer out of YOU so that you too can excel (without sacrificing your friends, family, and peace of mind to do so).
Let’s shoot straight– in business return on investment is often the name of the game. Namely, to maximize efficiency and minimize waste so the idea (myth) of sitting around “wasting time” can be anxiety provoking for some entrepreneurs. As we sit in silence trying to meditate we literally begin to hear dollar bills flying out the window and now instead of picturing ourselves on a beach with waves crashing in we see our electricity being turned off and the concerned faces of our employees and their families flash across our radar.
However, research can help turn that myth on it’s heels. This is far from wasted time. In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review Emm Seppala takes this on in her piece How Meditation Benefits CEOs. She looks at key outcomes such as improvement of attention, memory and emotional intelligence for business execs who regularly practice meditation.
Here’s the 6 benefits she identifies: (Full Article)
We know that those 6 benefits (while all essential to success) are not where the benefit train stops for meditation, it’s also about containing reaction and cultivating awareness. This improves one’s ability to tolerate distress without reacting negatively. How Meditation Can Transform Your Business featured in Entrepreneur outlines that, “By not immediately reacting to feelings of pain and pleasure, we not only toughen our minds and boost our sense of inner peace, we also broaden our perspective and capability to understand things a stressed out, self-absorbed mind would miss.”
We can appreciate that some people need the science, so good news meditation is evidenced based and plenty of data exists to satiate the skeptic. Emma M. Seppala breaks it down in her article 20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today (go to the article and each benefit is linked to actual research!) If you can’t get to the research we will give you a glimpse of her reasons:
It Boosts Your HEALTH
Increases immune function,
Decreases Inflammation at the Cellular Level
It Boosts Your HAPPINESS
Increases Positive Emotion
It Boosts Your SOCIAL LIFE
Think meditation is a solitary activity? It may be (unless you meditate in a group which many do!) but it actually increases your sense of connection to others:
Increases social connection & emotional intelligence
Makes you more compassionate
Makes you feel less lonely
It Boosts Your Self-Control
Improves your ability to regulate your emotions
Improves your ability to introspect
It Changes Your BRAIN (for the better)
Increases grey matter
Increases volume in areas related to emotion regulation, positive emotions & self-control
Increases cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention
It Improves Your Productivity (yup, by doing nothing)
Increases your focus & attention
Improves your ability to multitask
Improves your memory
Improves your ability to be creative & think outside the box
It Makes You WISE(R)
Included below are two brief mediations for you to try today. Find a quiet space at home or at work or put your earbuds in and do it right in the middle of Reading Terminal and experience the transcendent power of meditation that can benefit not only your personal wellbeing but can extend and maximize your professional potential.