Short Meditation Exercises Boost Productivity & Reduce Stress

Research continues to back the practice of meditation with evidence that it works to reduce stress and increase productivity. And, while we tend to think of the Dalai Lama or monks residing in quiet surroundings, as those experiencing meditation’s benefits, our busy bodies benefit as well.

The truth is that you do not need to spend a large portion of your day or life in meditation to experience its calming effects. Researchers find that just a few minutes per day garner benefits. And, within a week or so of beginning, you experience the results. Read on to get a glimpse into the research and science supporting these claims.

The Research

While some believe meditation to be a spiritual practice without basis, neither point is altogether true. Meditation is practiced in spiritual and outside spiritual circles. And, scientific research builds a fairly impressive foundation to support its claims. Check out the research.

Increased Productivity

Adequate recovery from work improves productivity at work. Research finds that meditation boosts recovery and therefore, productivity. A study in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that a mindfulness meditation intervention positively impacted recovery processes. The factors of sleep quality and duration improved with meditation.

A University of Washington study revealed that participants trained in meditation stayed on tasks longer and switched between tasks less than groups relying on other techniques. Furthermore, meditation led to improved memory, even in a high-stress environment. The ability to multitask more efficiently combined with memory benefits enhances productivity.

Reduced Stress

Researchers at Georgetown University proved that mindfulness meditation training sharply reduced stress hormones and proteins when facing a stress-inducing task. Those in the stress management program failed to see such results. In fact, according to researchers, their responses were poor.

A Canadian study discovered that just 10 minutes of meditation lowered anxiety and increased the ability to focus on a task. Participants who practiced mindfulness meditation during the study maintained task performance, unlike those listening to audio books. And, meditators performed better on the task.  

The Science

The research supports the claim that meditation improves productivity and reduces stress. But, how does it actually work? How can five minutes a day reap such benefits? The “how” is explained through the brain’s ability to properly sort and handle the demands it faces.

Ability to Properly Sort Demands

It turns out that meditation requires no magic or sleight of hand to return benefits. In fact, common sense science explains it. Meditation offers your mind the quiet and space to sort out the demands placed on you. When you hurry and scurry about, all demands get equal priority in the brain.

In other words, your brain cannot tell the difference between a request to send an email and one asking you to take on a new job. On the fly, each one puts your mind on high alert and raises stress and anxiety levels as they pile on one another. Distinguishing between the two requires mind space and life space. Meditation offers both and brings the clarity to discriminate between pressing and non-pressing matters.

Capacity to Handle the Demand

Meditation also increases your brain’s ability to handle greater demands. The plasticity of the brain (its ability to change and adapt) occurs throughout life. In this case, your mental resources increase as you practice meditation. And, you become more capable. Like the gym workout that strengthens your muscles, meditation is the workout that creates a strong, healthy mind.

As the mind becomes healthier and more capable, focus and clarity improve. These qualities lead to better stress management during demanding situations. Stress weighs the mind and slows productivity. By reducing the stress experienced by the body, meditation improves productivity naturally. The enhanced focus and clarity which result from meditative practices raise productivity as well.

Keeping Stress in Check

Not all stress can be avoided. Loss, heartbreak, and change remain permanent parts of life. Regular meditation also relieves stress by training the mind and body to address it head-on. This practice makes you more aware of your emotions so you can deal with them. Without the quiet to do so, emotions impact your view of situations and increase the sense of demand on you. Stress and anxiety result.

As you train your mind to recognize your emotions and respond differently through meditation, stress decreases. Your initial response becomes a more peaceful one. And, the brain again has space to discriminate between real and perceived demands. Properly handling pressure also leads to improved productivity.

To experience these benefits, you need to start a meditation practice. Just five minutes a day for 10 days yield results, according to research. No master-level training required. Stress reduction and increased productivity can be yours if you choose to slow down and meditate. Will you choose it?

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