If you’re anything like the rest of working America, your days are busy. Your to-do lists are packed. Sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day. You’re overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed out.
Chances are, your crazy work-life has found its way into your mental health. Maybe your job keeps you up at night, sends you into moments of anxiety, tests your attention span, and sucks out your creativity. The list goes on.
If I told you that I have something else for you to add to your daily schedule that will help improve all the negative outcomes experienced, you would probably tell me, “No thanks.” And it’s okay—I don’t take it personal. You have enough on your plate each day that adding another item might just break you.
Except—here’s the catch. The item I want you to add is actually nothing at all. Does that change your mind?
Meditation is the practice of doing absolutely nothing. You still your body, clear your mind, and simply breathe. You become present and are able to connect with yourself. Meditating is one of the many ways to practice mindfulness, which has earned a reliable role in positive leadership.
Enhances Emotional Intelligence
Meditation allows you to connect with your inner feelings and understand each emotion you feel. With a healthy dose of meditation in your schedule, you’ll learn to regulate your emotions and be able to detach them from each situation.
According to Harvard Business Review, “With meditation practice, as our fixation on ego drops away, our tendency to take things personally drops away as well.” Without being hijacked by your emotions and acting in reaction to them, you’ll be able to see things more clearly and act appropriately to the given situation.
The goal of meditation is for you to focus on nothing for an extended period of time, eliminating distractions and tangent thoughts. You hone in your attention on your breathing, stillness, and being present.
While focusing on nothing for a while may seem like an easy task, don’t be fooled. Research states that the human brain has the attention span of eight seconds, which is shorter than a goldfish. Meditation helps fight this decreasing number. In fact, studies have proven how mindfulness training can lead to less distracting thoughts in your daily life, leading to higher concentration and improved memory as well.
Creativity can be a large part of many jobs, some may even find it in their job description. Just as writers experience writer’s block, all people can experience a creative block—not knowing how to solve a problem or being able to conceive a new idea.
Meditation and other mindfulness practices, though, turn our brain onto divergent thinking. Simply put, divergent thinking allows our brains to create new ideas. Say goodbye to creative block, and hello to that “Aha!” moment!
Try not to let the idea of adding another bullet to your to-do list intimidate you. Meditation can be as little as 10 minutes a day while still providing all the benefits above. Plenty of successful leaders and companies are riding the meditation bus without any plan to hop off. For some help getting started on your mindfulness journey, download a mediation app to your smartphone, like Calm, or find a mediation podcast that you enjoy.