Over the next few weeks, we will put the spotlight on the benefits of regular modern meditation. In this first part, we focus on workplace wellbeing and how setting aside time every day to practice meditation will result in improved energy and focus.
The modern workplace can be a stressful environment. Common complaints from employees include poor organisational culture, bad management practices and a lack of workplace wellbeing. It’s no wonder that people burnout and struggle with stress and anxiety.
Modern meditation can help to improve energy and focus within the workplace. The act of meditating allows you to develop the skills of being absolutely present in what you are doing, perhaps for the very first time.
At the physical level, modern meditation practice begins to make changes to the nervous system. You will realise after a while what it actually feels like to be centred, calm and content. More importantly, these experiences come from the inside and not from the outside. You can make them happen. Regular modern meditation practice strengthens the nervous system, allowing the body and mind to balance. With regular practice you'll become aware of this shift in balance and how to make it work for you. You can begin to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your body that is responsible for bringing things back to an even keel, into balance and harmony.
Retuning your system
As your body begins to work more harmoniously with meditation, one great benefit you will enjoy is an increase in energy. Through meditation, you can learn to stay balanced, keeping your attention centred and focused. As a result, your fight/flight mechanism begins to flatten out, which helps us to burn energy more wisely — rather than energy being wasted in stress and anxiety, promoting negative mindsets such as, ‘what should have happened or what should happen’ at work, instead you are focused on the here and now, being with things as they happen, doing things that you need to do while staying present. It's only when you are present to the now that the body and mind truly relax.
To achieve this requires a deeper sense of mind and body awareness, allied with the ability to direct and focus your attention. This is one of the core skills of modern meditation that develops naturally as you practice.
Getting the most from work
Depending where you are right now it might feel counterintuitive to say to yourself, the most important thing I can do for me at this moment is to turn up for work. But there is a great deal of research which shows how many of us find a deeper meaning to who we are by what we do and more importantly, how we do what we do.
But we know that this is not true for everyone. It's thought about a third of us are considering changing their place of work because of rising stress levels, lack of empowerment, fulfillment and support, or a compressed and out of kilter work/life balance.
Turning up for work also means something else too; it means being present to where you are and what you're doing. You'll be amazed how this simple shift of managing your attention will enhance energy and strengthen focus, as well as enhancing purpose and direction.
We're not saying here to just get on with your work, like it or lump it, you have to do something you enjoy. What we're talking about here is changing one's relationship or attitudes to work. Imagine if you could point all of your attention towards what you are doing at any given moment, so that you can direct all of your capabilities and energy productively and creatively. Meditation reveals the techniques to make that work, so instead of spending a great deal of your time thinking about being somewhere else and doing something else, you are instead going with the flow and working effortlessly without stress or anxiety. Imagine too, if you could, just for a moment, disconnect from that critical internal voice that disempowers you to put too much pressure on yourself and stops you being who you really are, doing what you can really do.
Focusing on the present
If you find your mind drifting elsewhere while at work, you’re not really at work at all. This is something you realise when you learn to practice modern meditation, understanding that your attention is caught up by that voice in your head. The voice we often confuse as our own, the one that is constantly running over things that have happened or worrying about things that might happen. You are never present to what is actually happening, but not being in the here and now is one of the major sources of stress and anxiety in modern life, as your mind and nervous system are in a constant state of struggle, trying to shift and change things to match what's going on inside your head. If you recognise this, you’ll know that it’s an exhausting experience.
So when at work, be at work. When having your lunch, have your lunch. When at home, be at home. Just be and do. With practice, you’ll find that no amount of wanting things to be different will actually make them different.
Modern meditation is the key to making this work in your workplace, wherever you are, whatever you're doing. Learn more about our modern meditation programmes.
Why meditation could make you a better colleague
What to do if your employees are stressed out