Meditation: How sitting still for a few minutes daily can improve your mind, body, and career

Meditation, the practice of turning your attention inward for quiet contemplation, is becoming increasingly popular among companies where a high-stress environment is the norm. Leaders in the business world are beginning to see the value of meditation following a 2010 study that indicated meditation leads to enhanced brain activity in the areas of learning and memory, emotional regulation, and perspective taking. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, or if you’re just curious about the potential benefits of meditation, here are some ways meditating could help your career:

  • You’ll become more self-aware. Meditation will help you get in touch with your thoughts, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and desires. This type of emotional intelligence sets high performers apart from low performers because it allows them to admit their mistakes and learn from constructive criticism.

  • You’ll be able to concentrate better. Business Insider program director Arden Pennell describes meditation as a workout for the brain - you’re training your brain to stay focused, which will allow you to be productive even when a lot of craziness is happening around you.

  • You’ll perform better under stress. Meditating before a stressful event can help reduce feelings of stress during the event, allowing you to take control of your emotions and make logical, informed decisions. You’ll also keep your blood pressure in check, so stressful times at work won’t interfere with your health.

  • You’ll get better at multitasking. While it may seem counter-intuitive, taking time out of your day to meditate could help you get more done. Participants who practiced meditation for a recent study showed improved speed and accuracy on multitasking tests and reported lower stress levels than their non-meditating counterparts.

There are many ways to meditate, but the Transcendental Meditation method, or TM, has attracted millions of people since it was founded in the 1950s. Avid practitioners have included the likes of The Beatles, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Australian Idol winner Wes Carr, and Hugh Jackman. The benefits of TM range from reduced insomnia and decreased depression to improved creativity and cardiovascular health - all of which are backed up by extensive research.

Interested in practicing meditation, but not sure how to start? There are a variety of techniques, apps, and online tools to guide you, or you can check out the Transcendental Meditation website to find a teacher.