Whether you’re trying to improve your career, get coursework done, or be more productive in general, start using meditation for productivity.
Scientific research has proven that meditation improves productivity . This is one reason why major companies like Google are now using meditation in the workplace, to help employees be more productive.
Here’s how it works.
The Link Between Meditation And Productivity
So how does meditation make you more productive? To understand that, we need to look at the nature of both productivity and meditation.
Productivity means the efficiency of our work. It is usually measured in input against output, such that the more work we put in the more results we expect to get out of it.
There are many things that influence productivity. In particular, neuroscience tells us that we need the right amount of dopamine in order to get a sense of reward for motivation. We need the right amount of the stress chemical noradrenaline too, which creates fear of what might happen if we procrastinate. And we need acetylcholine, which enables us to focus. We also need a strong prefrontal cortex (part of the brain) because that is the brain part most important to productivity.
Let’s bear those things in mind one moment while we look at meditation.
Meditation is a psychological exercise in which we focus the mind on one aspect of the present moment, similar to mindfulness. Modern meditation is based mostly on Buddhism with techniques like Vipassana and Anapanasati, and there are newer methods like Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. And, of course, there are guided methods too, including many guided meditations for productivity. These methods all involve focusing the mind in order to create psychologically beneficial states.
So how does meditation make you more productive?
Well, for starters, there is significant research that says that meditation strengthens the prefrontal cortex, the most important part of the brain for productivity. This part of the brain makes decisions, focuses, judges, plans, and is involved in self-discipline. When neurons in the prefrontal cortex fire more easily we become more productive. Neuroimaging scans show that meditators have enhanced neural activity in the prefrontal cortex than non-meditators. This means that while non-meditators are being distracted by unwanted thoughts and monkey mind, meditators are more able to concentrate on work. It also means meditators are better at making decisions and so are less inclined to procrastinate. And meditators have more self-discipline.
So how about the brain chemical we looked at earlier: dopamine, noradrenaline, and acetylcholine? Research reveals the effect of meditation on these brain chemicals.
- A study found that meditation teachers have a 64% increase in dopamine after one hour of meditation.
- Researchers are Harvard Medical School, led by Dr. Herbert Benson, found that meditators do still produce norepinephrine, but the hormones effect is blocked. This means the body is still affected by noradrenaline but the “fight or flight” response is reduced enough to enable meditators to still focus. Hence we get an increase in energy without the anxiety.
- Acetylcholine is increased in the frontal lobes during meditation, creating increased levels of focus and attention.
In other words, meditation increases productivity because it leads the brain into its most productive state.
So how to you use meditation for creativity?
Best Types Of Meditation For Productivity
The best meditations for productivity are ones in which you focus on one thing, particularly if that one thing happens to be something relaxing and calming. That way, you quieten your mind and remove mental noise, which will help to improve your concentration and boost productivity levels.
Here are the best meditations for productivity.
1. Zen Meditation For Focus
Question. Out of all the people in this beautiful world of ours, who do you think has the best focus and concentration. Personally, I would say that Zen monks have better focus and concentration than practically anyone else. And one of the main reasons for that is because they practice Zen meditation.
Zen meditation is a technique in which we sit with our legs crossed on the ground. We then close our eyes three-quarters of the way so there is a little slit. We then focus on our breathing.
If all this sounds technical don’t worry, you will be able to do it quite easily.
Note that this is also one of the best meditations for studying.
2. Simple Breathing Methods
If you’re a beginner meditator, there’s not much sense trying an advanced meditation for productivity. You’ll simply spend all your time trying to work out what you’re supposed to be doing, instead of actually boosting your productivity.
Better to start simply.
For a very easy way to boost productivity, try breathing meditations.
Breathing meditations will help you to relax your mind so you’re not caught up in any kind of stress and anxiety. That will naturally boost your productivity levels.
3. Mindful mornings
If you want to boost productivity levels, morning time should be a focus for you. Life feels good when you can jump out of bed and immediately start being productive.
There are many good meditations for the morning. They range from eating breakfast mindfully to doing some mindful movement meditations, like tai chi and qigong.
Do you ever struggle to focus on just one thing? You know what it’s like, you’re trying to get your office work done but you keep checking your phone and going on Facebook instead. Hey, it happens to the best of us!
There’s one meditation technique that is all about focusing on one object. That meditation is called Samatha. It’s a method in which you focus your mind on one object, which could be your breath, water, or something else that is relaxing. This trains the mind to focus on one thing and cut out all distractions.
5. Walking meditation
Have you ever noticed that when you go for a walk you clear your mind. Then when you return to work you are more able to focus and get things done?
I personally love my lunchtime walk. It does so much good for my mind and for getting things done.
What’s even better than a simple walk, however, is a mindful walk.
Mindful walking is precisely what it sounds like: you meditate on walking.
You might like to try some grounding meditations too.
Guided Meditation For Productivity
I challenge you to spend one week doing these meditations. Productive will be your reward.
Plus, if you are trying to be more productive at work I recommend using mindfulness at the workplace!
When you start meditating you will cut out the noise and start getting more done.
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1: Amishi P. Jha, Jason Krompinger & Michael J. Baime, Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience volume, https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/CABN.7.2.109#page-1
2: Want to Raise Your IQ by 23 Percent? Neuroscience Says Take Up This Simple Habit, MELANIE CURTIN, INC, https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/want-to-raise-your-iq-by-23-percent-neuroscience-says-to-take-up-this-simple-hab.html
3: Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness, Sara W. Lazar, Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361002/