THE BUSINESS CASE FOR MEDITATION
Many of us live in a fast-paced, busy world, working long and late hours. We have information coming at us from all directions nearly all the time, stimulating our senses, including through our phones, computers, TVs, or even gas station pumps!
When we move so fast and process so much information, it is difficult to be still and peaceful, because our lives are largely governed by the state of our minds and the information contained within them. Meditation is a highly effective practice to calm the mind, and direct it towards positive thoughts while reducing the burden of negative thoughts and emotional complexities.
When you tell someone to do something that you think is good for them, the first thing they ask is, “Why should I?” This is very reasonable considering the ‘busy-ness’ of the modern world.
In my professional life, I was a businessman, so I was also full of ‘busy-ness’. I will layout a ‘business’ case for why a meditative practice is good for you:
1. Enhanced creativity — Creativity is a very valuable skill. According to a 2010 IBM survey(1) of more than 1500 CEOs, creativity is seen as the most important skill to successfully navigate the increasingly complex world of the future. Researchers at Leiden University conducted a study(2) which suggests that certain types of meditation (Open-monitoring meditation in this case) can enhance an aspect of creativity known as divergent thinking, or “… a style of thinking that allows many new ideas being generated, in a context where more than one solution is correct.” The OM meditators showed enhanced “flexibility, fluency, and originality” relative to a control group. Meditation can help you think ‘outside-the-box’ and solve complex problems in new ways.
2. Better decision-making — Professionals in all walks of life and at all levels of organizations are being called on to make decisions more quickly, in an ever more complicated environment. Making decisions and getting things done are crucial skills for the modern professional. Researchers from the University of Rochester and Virginia Commonwealth University found that mindfulness-based stress reduction significantly improved executive function(3) in study participants. Researchers at Stanford University and Santa Clara University found that mindfulness-based stress reduction improved “moral reasoning and ethical decision-making, as well as mindful attention, emotion, and well-being.”(4)
3. Improved quality of life — Researchers at Wellspan York Hospital conducted a 12-week Heartfulness Meditation program for hospital faculty. They found that Heartfulness Meditation significantly improved all measures of burnout, nearly all measures of Emotional Wellness, as well as increased telomere length (shortened telomeres are considered as a sign of aging). In addition to enhancing our performance, meditation can also simply help us feel better in general.
Meditation can be very ‘profitable’, so please consider taking up a practice of meditation that helps you to feel, perform, and become better; one that is suitable for you.
At the Heartfulness Institute, we offer Heartfulness Meditation practices and training free of charge. You are welcome to try it for yourself and experience the benefits of a heart-based practice with Yogic Transmission. You can find a nearby trainer at http://heartspots.heartfulness.org/
1. IBM 2010 Global CEO Study: Creativity Selected as Most Crucial Factor for Future Success (https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/31670.wss)
2. Meditate to create: the impact of focused-attention and open-monitoring training on convergent and divergent thinking, Lorenza S. Colzato*, Ayca Ozturk and Bernhard Hommel, Front. Psychol., 18 April 2012, (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00116/full)
3. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Older Adults: Effects on Executive Function, Frontal Alpha Asymmetry and Immune Function, Moynihan J.A.a · Chapman B.P.a · Klorman R.b · Krasner M.S.c · Duberstein P.R.a · Brown K.W.d ·Talbot N.L.a (https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/350949)
4. Mindfulness-based stress reduction effects on moral reasoning and decision making, Shauna L. Shapiro, (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2012.723732)