Meditation, and other forms of being more mindful, have gone from being perceived as unusual to invaluable in a short space of time. Many business leaders in Australia and around the world have gone from being sceptical about the practice to making it a core part of their daily routines.
But why the fuss? Mindfulness has many benefits, including reduced stress, clearer thinking and an ability to focus for longer.
Meditation is often recommended as a way to reduce anxiety. A study by Massachusetts General Hospital found that after an eight-week programme of meditation, 93% of patients reported a drop in anxiety.
Anxiety can have a number of negative effects on people. In some cases, it can be debilitating, but even milder symptoms such as stressing over an important decision can lead to heightened emotions that strain relationships, delay productivity and have physical health implications too.
In a world where we’re bombarded by messages and notifications, it’s easy to be distracted and lose focus. One of the key learnings of meditation is to retain your focus. This allows you to keep your mind on your work and stop your attention wandering off.
A Harvard study measured brain wave patterns to show this was true. The study monitored a group who went through an eight-week meditation process against a control group, with the meditation practitioners showing much better results.
Improves brain function
Many business leaders turn to coffee to kickstart their days, but meditation can lead to a clearer mind which negates the need for stimulants like caffeine.
A study published in Consciousness and Cognition Journal found that within just four days, people who meditated felt less fatigue, had an improved mood and were able to think more clearly. Other benefits for the brain noted in the trial were enhanced memory and decision making.
Apps to improve your mindfulness
Knowing where to start can be difficult, but the answer might be close to hand. Mindfulness apps are available on both Apple and Android devices, ranging from free options to subscription models. People react differently to the apps and programmes available, but three of the best ones are:
One of the first big names in the app store for meditation was Headspace. This was created by an Englishman who dropped out of university to become a Buddhist monk. The app’s free trial gives you 10 days to try the material, with 550 hours of guided meditation available if you subscribe. Headspace can help in many ways – there are courses to help with stress, sleep issues or other areas of discontent, as well as mini meditations for those days when you’re short of time.
2. Insight Timer
Another of the most downloaded mindfulness apps is Insight Timer. As well as guided meditation sessions, from beginner’s sessions to advanced lessons, this app acts as a social media of zen. A world map shows you where people are meditating at that time and you can talk to other users if there are any issues you’re coming up against.
3. Smiling Mind
by an Australian not-for-profit organisation and designed by
psychologists, Smiling Mind is a simple app that’s aimed at newcomers to
the field and highlights the scientific reasons for engaging in
mindfulness activities. The app has a range of courses, aimed at adults
in their personal lives and work lives. There are also programs for
parents to go through with their children to get them started on good
The benefits of Smiling Mind are being appreciated by more and more people. Passengers with Virgin Australia now have the choice to access the meditation series through the plane’s inflight entertainment systems.
Join like-minded business leaders
There are many ways you can improve your performance at work, and being more mindful is just one of them. To find out how to improve your work performance and enjoy life more fully, find out about becoming a Member of Million Dollar Business Club by applying here.