What can meditation do?
Meditation increases your working memory capacity; how much information you can hold mentally and process at any one time. If your brain were a computer, this would be its RAM (Random Access Memory) so as your working memory capacity grows, you can think about more in each moment, process your work more deeply, and take on more complex tasks.
A meditation case study
A study published in Springer’s Journal of Cognitive Enhancement suggested that meditation could prevent age-related mental decline. This was a seven-year study, beginning in 2011, that assessed patients ranging in age from 22 to 69 both before and after they attended a retreat for three months at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado. The participants had various sorts of meditation training such as generating compassion for others, mindful breathing techniques, and focus on one object.
Immediately after the retreat, they found that meditating had enhanced the participants’ focus and attention spans. Seven years later, all of the participants had kept up with a meditation routine, and their assessments showed that, for the most part, all of their mental improvements continued. The more they meditated, the more they saw continued benefits from the training.
This may seem like a contradiction. The last thing any busy person wants to do is sit and do nothing for twenty minutes. Who has time for that? However, numerous studies show that in addition to giving us better mental capabilities, meditation can actually make you more productive.
How does meditation make you more productive?
As we’ve already learned, it can increase your mental capabilities and help you to focus better. It can also increase your ability to resist distracting urges. Research has shown, the ability to resist distractions raises your performance, improves your relationships, and increases your dependability.
Meditating daily strengthens your willpower and self-control. This can keep you from checking Facebook 180 times a day or spending half an hour talking to someone at the water cooler about the last season of Stranger Things.
How to bring meditation into your routine
It may be difficult to start meditating for twenty minutes every morning in the beginning. Instead, maybe try to meditate for five minutes here and there throughout your day. Most people can find five minutes to sit and focus on their breathing. And then you can slowly build up to twenty minutes over time.
If you still need more proof, take a look at all of the successful people who have meditation practices:
- Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, uses an app called Headspace to meditate every day
- Russell Simmons, the current chair and CEO of Rush Communications, to begin the habit of meditation
So the next time you think about meditating, but you resist, thinking you’re “too busy,” just try it for five minutes. You may find that it was exactly what was missing in your life and will make you more productive as a result.