Mindfulness Meditation for Productivity
Meditation is great for our bodies, minds, and spirit. There is so much research out there showing how simple meditation exercises increases our happiness by reducing stress, improving health, and focusing our intentions. It can also help you clear your mind to focus on the things that are most important to you. Mindfulness Meditation is for productivity is a great resource for hitting your goals with focus and attention.
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Mindfulness meditation for productivity is a great way to move from “go, go, go” to “slow, slow, slow.” Being mindful means slowing down and doing things with intention. When you are moving at a breakneck pace, like working in a speed hour, your focus isn’t honed in on what you are doing, but on getting stuff done. Honestly, that’s fine when you need to get a lot done in a short amount of time but you’re not being mindful about the work you are doing. You’re just getting it done to get it off your plate.
Practicing mindfulness meditation for productivity means a change of focus. It means slowing down and putting all of your focus into whatever it is you’re doing. Easier said than done, right? Let’s look at some ways we can add mindfulness meditation for productivity into our daily lives.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness simply means that you directly experience your thoughts, emotions, and actions – via your senses – as you experience them. In simple terms, it means you are doing and being deliberate in your thoughts and actions. Instead of rushing through things, you are mindful of how you do things and how you feel as you are doing them. The goal of mindfulness meditation for productivity is training our brain to be mindful as much as possible.
Meditation is Good For You
The great thing about meditation is that you can do it almost anywhere, at any time. You don’t have to be all zen-ed out in yoga gear with candles and chimes and the like. You can simply lower your gaze, breathe deeply, and practice mindful meditation.
My grandmother used to “rest her eyes” by sitting in a chair and closing her eyes for a bit but she never fell asleep. I do it too and my husband always give me grief because he says there’s no such thing as “resting your eyes.” He just says I’m sleeping. Well, I love him – but he’s totally wrong on this one (and I tell him so). Ha Ha. But in all seriousness, that bit of “resting my eyes” time is a simple little mindfulness meditation where I can calm the “noise” coming into my brain and re-center myself.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Arizona, Boston University, the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and Emory University discovered that meditation reprograms the brain in how it responds to emotional stimuli. So, if a person practices regular meditation and focuses on mindful thinking, they can reap the benefits of meditation even when they are not in a meditative state. In my unscientific opinion, I think this is why “resting my eyes” works. Those who actively meditate are changing how the amygdala region of the brain (the area involved in emotion and memory processing) functions. The researchers discovered that people who meditate experience lower activity in the amygdala when exposed to images that should produce a negative emotion. Meaning, these people were handling stress in a good way. (Which I need right now because I can’t stay off Twitter!)
Practice Mindfulness Meditation for Productivity
Sometimes the hardest part of mindfulness meditation is just making your brain SHUT UP and FOCUS for a bit. That’s why I recommend that for your challenge today, you try to meditate for at least 10 minutes. 20-30 minutes would be better but I know it’s hard to carve out so much time.
After today, try to meditate for at least five minutes a day, preferably around the same time each day (if possible). Any meditation is better than none so don’t wait for the “perfect” moment- it may not come!
How To Meditate
- Try to find a quiet, peaceful place. Avoid extra stimuli like phones and TVs. The space doesn’t have to be completely silent. Just find somewhere you won’t be bumped, asked to do something, or interrupted by a call or screaming child. (I know, I know…. bathrooms moms).
- Sit in a comfortable place. Traditionally, meditation is practiced by sitting on a cushion on the ground, in a lotus, or half-lotus position. If this is not comfortable, sit in a chair or lay flat on the ground, belly up. You need to be in a position where your spine is straight and you can pull in a full, deep breath.
- Close your eyes. Meditation is practiced with the eyes open or shut but for a beginner (or even old hands) closing the eyes might be easier. This allows you to cut out external stimuli. Alternatively, you could focus on the flame of a candle or a motionless spot in the room.
- Begin by breathing slowly. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. If breathing that way is too distracting, just breathe normally. Focus your mind on a spot above your navel and be aware of the rise and fall of your abdomen as you breathe in and out. Breathing meditation is the most basic of all meditation techniques and is a great place to start. You could just practice this exercise today and be done.
This is a meditation I like to practice: sit upright in a half lotus position making sure that each vertebrae is stacked on top of the next (i.e. don’t slump). Slow your breathing and softly close your eyes. With your mind, envision a dark room with a single candle it the room. Focus your energy on the flame of the candle. Make the flame steady. Every time an outside thought enters your mind it will make the flame flicker. Focus on the flame until it is steady and no outside thoughts disturb it. (Sometimes this can take a while if it’s been a rough day!)
There are hundreds of ways to meditate and everyone has their favorite way of doing it. Some people train years and years to go into deep meditative states. I’m not going to cover any advance meditation techniques here.
Here is a great (and short) no b.s. podcast about meditation for skeptics on Nick Loper’s Side Hustle Nation. Hint: you don’t have to worry about doing it “right.”
If you want to learn more about advancing your meditation skills here are a few books, guided meditations, and simple yoga resources I recommend.