The 4 P's
If you’ve been tuning in for the last three installments in this series, you know the last “P” to discuss is our professional life. Now, meditation can’t stop emails from pouring in or extend a tight deadline for you, but it can help with how you react and respond to the challenges you face at work. Meditation has been shown to increase focus and concentration, decrease work related stress and anxiety, and increase productivity and job satisfaction. So grab your coffee or tea, turn off those email notifications, and let’s explore these scientifically backed benefits in greater detail.
Strengthens Focus and Concentration
Being able to focus and concentrate on the task at hand, and refocus after a distraction, is crucial to job performance. We can’t accomplish much of anything if our brain is constantly wandering while we should be creating that spreadsheet, drafting that important email, or writing that final blog post installment.
In two studies conducted, one brief 10-minute audio guided meditation improved the attention span of the participants. In the first study, participants who listened to the meditation “exhibited a boost in accuracy reflecting increased attentional control,” even when time constraints were placed on them. In the second study, “when the task was more complex but less temporally constrained, participants in the meditation condition were faster to respond correctly, regardless of the presence or absence of distracting stimuli.” Both these studies show that even with a one-time brief meditation, you can strengthen your focus and concentration and be less impacted by distractions, which leads to greater productivity and less stress. So next time you find yourself struggling to concentrate at work and your brain is thinking about what’s for dinner or the lyrics to your favorite song, try pausing for a brief meditation to reset and refocus your mind.
Decreases Workplace Stress and Anxiety
Let’s face it, no matter how wonderful the workplace or how much you love your job, we all experience workplace related stress and anxiety. It’s a natural part of life. But too much stress and anxiety is detrimental to the body, mind, and yep, our professional life. We often cannot change what is causing the stress, but we can change our response to it. In the words of Jon Kabat-Zin, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” And, in this case, meditation is your surfboard.
This systematic review of 23 studies on the “effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on employees’ mental health” found that meditation:
Increases Productivity and Job Satisfaction
Increasing productivity and job satisfaction are key elements to decreasing burnout, having a long-lasting and fulfilling career, and improving your overall quality of life. When we feel accomplished at work, we are happier and more satisfied with our job. And when we are happier with our job, we are more satisfied with our lives. It’s that mindfulness meditation ripple effect again.
This study of a randomized control trial conducted at a midwestern marketing firm compared the effects of a half-day mindfulness seminar with that of a 6-week mindfulness training program on employee well-being outcomes. “Although both groups improved comparably on job productivity, the 6-week mindfulness training group had significantly greater improvement in attentional focus at work and decreases in work–life conflict, as well as a marginal improvement in job satisfaction compared with the half-day seminar comparison group.” Now, to be fair, pushing yourself to be productive and satisfied in a job that is not the right fit for you isn’t beneficial in the end. But mindfulness meditation can help provide you the clarity to know whether to keep pushing forward, or begin looking for something new. And if your job is the right fit, it will only serve to increase your productivity and job satisfaction.
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We hope you enjoyed taking a look at the science that drives what we do. Stay tuned for more blogs exploring wellness in the workplace and more!
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Author: Rebecca Kurdziolek
Corporate Site Director