Wouldn’t it be handy to have a simple tool which could both reduce stress and increase productivity? Whether you’re in the business of boosting performance or you’re searching for a healthier way to manage life’s stressors; Meditation could be your answer.
Stress is one of the biggest afflictions of the modern world. It literally takes over our minds – disrupting our brain and affecting the way we work. It clouds our perception, causes indecisiveness and leads to an inability to focus.
A stress response physically impairs the natural way that our brain operates. Rather than the prefrontal cortex taking charge (the area responsible for decision-making, planning and good judgement) the amygdala takes over (the part of our brain responsible for fight or flight). When this happens we become more reactionary and doubtful. Suddenly, we are unable to see things clearly. This includes the long-term consequences of our decisions… not helpful when you need to finish a complex project, run a business, communicate with staff or present in front of the board!
We all know that stress is inevitable (no matter how many beach vacations we take) and as the pace of our lives increase, so too will stress. However, we often live in “it won’t happen to me” denial about the fact that this continual accumulation can eventually lead to dis-ease. Therefore, it is essential to make space for regular stress release. This is particularly important during times of increased stress such as work pressures, heartbreak, divorce, the death of a loved one, financial or business loss and unexpected health problems.
The truth is that whilst sleep may help to relieve the menial stressors of the day, it is just not enough to liberate the legacy of continuous dramas and deadlines. To achieve this kind of release, we require much deeper rest.
The effects of aggregated stress often emerge later in life and can be disguised as fear, avoidance and doubt in everyday living or in business. We may want to retreat, or simply feel more guarded than usual. We may not want to take risks. We may appear more negative or aggressive. We may even get sick more often.
The good news? A daily meditation practice provides a simple, systematic and effective approach to relieving the accumulated stress of modern life. The even better news? Benefits of starting a meditation practice are experienced immediately. They also increase and deepen over time.
When people start meditating, they report immediate feelings of increased calm, clarity, decisiveness and the ability to concentrate for longer periods. Longer-term, people find that they don’t dwell as much on problems, and stress just doesn’t affect them in the same way. The key difference here is that whilst they may get stressed, they don’t stay stressed.
The deep physical state of rest we achieve during meditation also strengthens the brain – from the prefrontal cortex of the brain (which is associated with higher-level thinking) to the right and left parts of the brain (the areas which make us more creative and orderly). These physical and mental processes promote better decision-making, increased learning ability and memory, enhanced problem solving and a greater ability to see the bigger picture.
Plain and simple: meditation makes you more productive. Why? Because you are working more efficiently. There is a global synchronicity in the brain therefore it is working at an optimal level. Many meditators say they get so much more done in the day than they used to because they are working more effectively and not wasting time on irrelevant activities (or procrastinating as much – we are all guilty of this!)
Vedic Meditation, in particular, takes you to levels of rest that are deeper than sleep. As your body lets go of pent up stress and fatigue, you benefit from greater clarity. You gain fresh perspectives about which activities are important, new ways of solving problems and greater resilience to counterproductive activities or habits.
I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t have time to meditate. I’m too busy.” Many business people think they don’t have time but in truth, the perfect time to start this practice is when you are busy. Choose to invest in yourself for just 20 minutes, twice per day. It is scientifically-proven that you will earn that time back, and then some (and by ‘some,’ I mean hours!).
So, are you ready to let go of the stress that is holding you back? Are you willing to invest in a tool that will elevate your performance and productivity? Perhaps give some thought to meditation – It will be the simplest thing you’ll ever learn.
Angela Lyos Braun