Although it may seem like one of your co-workers is dozing off in the middle of the day, they may actually be in a state of meditation. With the reality that employees are constantly run down and tired, Bararba Cox, Ph.D., a consulting psychologist and coach who specializes in working with innovative leaders and organizations, advocates for the benefits of meditation in the office.
"Research shows there are significant effects on physical and mental health for people who practice meditation, self-hypnosis and other stress-management tools," says Cox.
Meditation in the office is actually more common that you may think, and there are number of benefits from the practice. Take a look:
- Improved ability to manage stress: Especially in the office, people will experience a significant amount of stress due to high demands and pressure. Life is filled with stress and the average work day can provide a host of new triggers that add to stress, whether it’s a demanding supervisor, a difficult client or uncooperative co-workers, just to name a few. "Stressful situations are going to happen," Cox says. "So the question becomes how well you can handle the stress. Meditation can assist in that."
- Increased quality of sleep: According to research by Harvard University, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, meditation can actually help people with their sleep issues. This doesn’t only mean that people should meditate before bed, but rather the study shows that meditating during the day can help people to get into a more relaxed state at night. "And if you get a good night’s sleep," Cox says, "you’re more likely to perform well at work the next day."
- More mental energy: Due to mental exertion and various other factors, employees can often feel tired and run down during the work day, even if their job is not very physically demanding. No more need for that second cup of coffee, meditation can actually help to restore your physical and mental energy, keeping you awake and alert as you power through the day.
- Greater ability to concentrate: With the increased access to smart phones and technology, it’s easy to get distracted during the day. Research done by the University of California, Santa Barbara, confirms that those who meditate are better able to focus on ideas and remember facts without getting easily distracted.
"Supervisors need to take note of all that research if they haven’t already," Cox says. "Companies are always looking for ways to improve productivity and meditation can help lead to a happier workforce and a more efficient one."
Cox highly recommends meditation in the work community. She suggests ways in which meditation can start to become part of the work regiment. "You could have a meditation week where everyone meditates at the same time every day for one week. You could have a meditation challenge between departments or send out weekly meditations in the company newsletter. You could even begin your meetings with a two-minute meditation.”
Further information about Dr. Cox can be found on her website.