It’s easy to dismiss the act of meditation as a frivolous exercise for long-haired hippies and people who don’t know how to function in the real world. After all, you work in the world of business! There’s no time for such silliness as sitting still and doing nothing, concentrating on your breath without being productive.
But meditation is scientifically linked to various health benefits. It also helps you maintain better control of your emotions. And it serves to reinforce the value of taking a moment for yourself, so that you might more easily get through the day. There is value in the act for everyone, especially if you take your work seriously.
As it specifically pertains to the workplace, meditation helps you visualize and establish goals. It’s as easy as you’d expect. Just find a quiet place where you can be by yourself for several minutes. There’s no need to sit on the floor cross-legged, or hold your body and any unusual position. All you really need is several uninterrupted minutes to yourself. You can even just sit in a chair with your eyes closed. By focusing on your breathing and mindfully monitoring your thoughts, you’re already meditating!
Throughout your practice of meditation, simply be aware of your body. Notice where you are tense. Also be sure to notice where you are loose and relaxed. This holistic approach ensures that your entire body gets the same loving attention throughout the practice. It’s perfectly common to have flashes of negative thought pop up while meditating. It is not your job to judge or react to these thoughts. Acknowledge them, and then wave them goodbye.
The simple act of regularly taking quiet time for yourself to process your thoughts, pay attention to your body, and enjoy silence away from your colleagues will make you a better leader.
If you want to kick it up several notches, start a meditation program at work. Get your team engaged in the practice together. Such programs are linked to increased employee loyalty, decreased health-related absences, and improved communication in the workplace. For such a simple act — to sit still and concentrate on breathing for several minutes — the benefits of meditation at work are simply too strong to ignore today.
All you need to get started is nothing, but it’s perfectly natural to feel like you need more information. We recommend a great book by a Google employee named Meng XXX. It’s called search inside yourself, and it goes into far more detail about the beneficial reasons employees should meditate at work or at home. The author outlines everything you need in order to begin such a program. Know that when you follow the instructions in his book, you’re cloning the same type of successful program that’s already been run at Google. And what’s wrong with copying such a successful company?!
If you’re interested in taking meditation for a test-drive for yourself first, you might try a helpful app like Headspace to get you started.