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  • jameshedland

Work Smarter, Not Harder. Meditation For Work

When most people think about meditation, they are often intimidated or alarmed at something they are not familiar with. Those of you that practice or have a good idea about meditation definitely understand the benefits. For those of you who don't let me explain why I personally believe it will help your professional career.

Meditation is sort of up for interpretation; even when I was introduced to the word, I had an idea that it meant you basically have to enter a dead-silent mode of nothingness. While that sounded great, especially in the midst of a crazy stressful work-day, I wasn't sure how to "get there." The great news and the big surprise for me was there no one way to do it.

I'm a rational type-a personality, I want to know the how, and that was a part of how and why meditation seemed so elusive. The only thing you need to know - and something I learned, is that when you figure it out - you'll be on the road to emotional and professional success.

An incredible moment for me was being surprised to find I'd be sitting next to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company in Los Angeles, meditating and discussing the benefits of mindfulness, then practicing the steps of meditation right then. This amongst no more than just 15-20 others.

So, why meditation - and why for work? I think it's important to ask yourself; are you ever stressed out with work, or want more out of your professional career? If you answered yes to either, meditation for work might just do the trick for you.

I've worked in some of the most stressful and eek-inducing moments in my professional career. Some of those moments you just want to scream, tear into someone or walk out of a meeting. I think this is most people, and I always wanted to keep that cool-calm-collected moment of zen, especially in a crisis.

What is Meditation, like actually? Well, again this is up for your own personal interpretation and how you operate inside your brain. The voice that talks to you is your mind, and quieting your mind is what meditation is all about. The thing is, most people aren't really sure how to do that. Try right now, to stop talking in your head... I'll give you a minute... How'd you do? If you didn't hear anything - you can stop reading, you know how to "meditate." If you, like most, however, had a near impossible time shutting that voice up - continue on!

Meditation is the silencing of that internal voice or the buzzing that just won't go away. This is amplified when you're dealing with stressful or difficult situations. Often times, that's when you need to meditate the most. So then, think of a time recently when you've really been at your wit's end. Think about how you may have reacted or handled it in a way you might not have preferred. Meditation can help.

Now that you understand what meditation essentially is: how and when can we really do it? We say, "I'm slammed at work, I have no time" (so we convince ourselves). The reality is, your level of dedication to something dictates whether or not it's possible. Work smarter not harder, and find the time. You'll be surprised at how little time you really need. Meditation can be done, in as little as 5-15 minutes. You can take a restroom break, walk to your car or even put on headphones right at your desk (if you're invisible).

I actually started with music, and for me, it was ambient trance ( EDM) for those of you familiar. Now, you might ask, how can dance music quiet your mind? It's different for everyone, you may get to a place of bliss with the right sounds, or even the right music! Guided meditations are great, and ( has a great few online. Others can be readily found by Oprah and many other inspirational leaders in the online video world. You can also, just close your eyes and breathe, in and out slowly - in through your nose, out through your mouth while staying focused on your breathing.

Okay, so what is this doing for me? Quieting your mind, going to a place of silence and stillness will bring clarity and peace. This centers your mind, clears any fog and will ultimately increase your productivity, efficiency and your stamina. I speak from experience, during the most challenging times, taking just 5 minutes to do a quick meditation or breathing exercise assisted me in being more productive, or getting through the most stressful situations with ease and grace.

Harvard posted some incredible research results showing that mindfulness lowered stress and anxiety an astonishing amount, reducing depression and improving mental clarity.

Cleveland Clinic did meditation research and found the following results;

- A 31 percent decrease in stress levels

- A 28 percent increase in vitality, a measure of how energized a person feels throughout the workday

So, now that you know all of this go to work tomorrow and take 5-15 minutes and breathe, enjoy some fantastic time for you. This won't just help you, you'll notice it helps everyone around you, and they'll appreciate you more. Your mood will be improved, you'll have significant interactions with others. Your work will get better, your stress will decrease, and people will wonder what wonder-drug you're on to stay so chill during the moments of crisis at work.

Meditation has dramatically assisted me in my personal life but has done even more for me in my professional career, and I couldn't be more grateful to have been introduced to this magical technique. I hope it does fantastic things for you.


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