If you think meditation will cause you to lose your edge at work, think again.
"Many of the world's most successful business people practice meditation," says Angela Buttimer, MS, NCC, RYT, LPC, a licensed psychotherapist at Cancer Wellness.
Meditation and mindfulness practices have been show to improve:
"When we work with corporate clients, we notice many teams have dysfunctional communication patterns," she says. "After working with these clients for a few months, we observe that employees begin to help each other practice mindfulness. It actually changes the corporate culture when everyone practices together."
She adds, "Leaders and employees are calmer, respond more skillfully to stressful situations and are better communicators."
How to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into the workday
- Begin at home. Start by practicing meditation at home for at least five to 20 minutes each morning before you go to work, recommends Buttimer. It sets you up for success the rest of the day.
- Breathe. "We find people aren't breathing well during the day," she says. "They may be really focused on a goal and are taking shallow breaths, which creates a stress response in the body."
- Nix the multitasking. Take a break from email and social media so you can focus on completing work-related projects. "When you are interrupted by notifications, it can take 20 minutes to get refocused on a task," says Buttimer. "It is impossible for the brain to multitask. Instead, it is toggling from activity to activity, which makes you less efficient." Consider blocking off a few chunks of time each day for checking and responding to emails.
- Prioritize. "It's really important to prioritize your daily tasks because you can get pulled in 20 different directions each day," she explains. "You have to say no to something. Mindfulness can help with prioritization."
- Put things in perspective. Unless you are a surgeon or first responder, most of your work crises are not true emergencies. "People may think their project is the most urgent thing on your to-do list," says Buttimer. "But the world isn't going to fall apart if you have other priorities and don't respond right away."
- Schedule it. Set aside time for sacred pauses and mindful eating throughout the day.
Still curious? See more mindfulness and meditation tips.