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3 reasons to meditate at work

More and more corporate leaders and employees are finding a few moments to meditate during their work day. Find out why. 

How many times have you heard the words "I'm too busy", "not today" or "I don't have time for this" —  I'm guessing quite a few? It's all too familiar in the workplace.

But what if we paused for a moment and allowed ourselves five or 10 minutes to meditate at work? Would it add to the pressure of our day or relieve us of it?

The Harvard Business School along with INSEAD (Europe's leading business school) have concluded from their research that the two most effective business tools for 21st century executives are meditation and intuition. 

"The benefits of meditation in the workplace are cumulative; they build on one another, starting with the individual and from there, positively impacting the performance of the business as a whole," said author and meditation instructor Elba Mueller.

Some might balk at the prospect of sitting cross-legged with their eyes closed in the office, but there are a few good reasons for doing so.

1.    Improve your focus

Clarity and the ability to focus on goals are crucial to the success of any business. Both of these are a byproduct of the inner calm and peace that meditation brings, according to Ms Mueller. 

"It's been documented that most people find themselves facing a 'fight or flight' decision an average of 12 times each day. The state of 'fight or flight' is an acute stress response that can adversely affect digestion, heart rate, respiratory rate and the general effectiveness of the immune system," she said. 

"If employees are busy simply trying to survive, their minds will become hazy in all that they do."

2.    Increase productivity

Reducing stress in the workplace is an important step towards boosting productivity. 

"The practice of meditation will help to improve the general productivity in companies of any size or industry," Ms Mueller said.

"By helping employees at all levels deal with their stress effectively, focus more clearly on their own goals and the goals of the company, and communicate clearly with the other members of their team, the productivity of the employee will improve. And when productivity improves at the individual level, overall productivity of the company improves, too, which leads to increased profits and a healthier bottom line."

3.    Avoid distractions 

We live in a world chock-full of distractions. How often have you found yourself engaged in your work, when suddenly your attention is diverted and you're off on a tangent? 

Working on computers, as most of us do, can also be a distraction. It's all too easy to slide into a YouTube spiral or Facebook scan when we should be focused on our work. 

Fred Wilson, a successful venture capitalist and cofounder of Union Square Ventures, wrote in his newsletter that he's been meditating for 10 to 15 minutes every day for the past two months. 

"I  am experiencing a number of benefits, but the one I am most cognizant of is an increased ability to avoid distraction in a conversation or some other situation where I need to be focused," he wrote. 

"I've always been good at being focused, sometimes to a fault. But I also find my mind wandering in situations where I am losing interest and that's obviously very bad.

"Meditation is like repetitive exercise of the focus muscle in the brain. So if you are having trouble being present in situations you want to be but can't, I would strongly recommend trying meditation. It's helped me with this and I imagine it will help you too."

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain