How Meditation Can Benefit Your Productivity And Creativity
When I discuss with others about meditation, most of the responses I get sound like “…I don’t have the time….” or “….I work for long hours….”
It’s true that present-day life does put a lot of pressure on us, and most times we are forced into multitasking, but meditation can increase your productivity and creativity in ways you never imagined.
[su_pullquote align=”right”]This is a guest post by Panos, the creator of The Spiritual Bodies, a blog where he gathers information about alternative ways of living. The goal is to inform and help people create a new way of life and gain physical, psychological and spiritual benefits.[/su_pullquote]
Productivity and creativity are two different things that they go hand in hand. There are people who are productive and there are people who are creative, and by working together they can reach their common goals. So now imagine if you can be creative as well as productive what amazing things you will be able to accomplish.
Meditation benefits both productivity and creativity, and will help you expand your skills and talents in many possible ways. If you invest 10-20 minutes of your day meditating, you will spend less time in meaningless tasks and distractions, and you will be able to find better ways to overcome problems.
So how does this work?
Here are a few ways on how meditation benefits productivity and creativity (and an infographic!).
Meditation minimizes stress
It has been proven in multiple studies, in clinical and non-clinical cases, that meditation helped the participating subjects to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and frequency of panic attack occurrences.
Chronic stress can be the cause for many diseases, such as heart disease, ulcer, high blood pressure and many more. Being in a constant state of stress can leave you feeling completely exhausted and unable to focus, thus making simple everyday tasks seem strenuous and complicated. What happens when you need to focus on an important project, which is related to work or any other important area of your life?
Once the stress is lowered, your body will react in the most positive way possible. You will overcome health issues that drain your energy leaving you plenty of stamina to work at the task at hand, making you more productive. But the benefits of meditating don’t stop there.
Being creative and innovative can be very stressful and scary sometimes (called artistic anxiety), because you do need to step over the familiar boundaries. By lowering the stress and anxiety levels, you actually create a safe environment within yourself, providing you with enough space and solid confidence to be creative.
In addition, when working with others, either co-workers in an office or artistic collaborators can create several problems. Low stress levels will keep you calmer under pressure allowing you to plan a strategy that will take the team closer to finding a solution.
Meditation can increase mental focus
Italian neuroscientist Giuseppe Pagnoni, used an fMRI machine to study how the brain functions and the patterns that correspond to various tasks. For his research he used experienced meditators and people who had not meditation experience. The differences between the two groups were compelling.
For example, the experienced meditators had a significantly stable frequency of incidents of elevated ventral posteromedial cortex (vPMC) activity. What that means is that the experienced meditators, compared to the non-meditators, could perform much better in a rapid visual information processing test. These findings correlate to better mental focus and larger attention span and, in extent, mindfulness. It’s interesting to note that many psychologists and researchers, including Pagnoni, strongly promote the practice of meditation and mindfulness to fight depression.
Meditation benefits productivity by increasing your mental focus and attention span, so you will be able to absorb and process information much faster than before.
Increased mental focus can also influence creativity at a major level. The creative person firstly visualizes the final product and then breaks it down into smaller pieces, trying to find the best way possible to put these pieces together. This process requires a lot of brain energy, but having a hard time to focus can delay the materialization of your vision and bring you across problems you didn’t locate earlier.
Meditation can expand your perspective
When you meditate you focus on many different things at a time. For example, you focus on your breathing, then the sensation on your skin, then your feelings at that moment and so on. Even when you focus on an object and trying to study it form different perspectives or find different uses for it. In any case, you slowly develop your ability to see and examine things and situations from various different points of view.
This can benefit the artists in many ways. They will be able to visualize their art from many different views, finding various ways of tackling a project. This of course will help you become more productive, not just in an artistic way, but other areas of your life.
For example, you will have a better idea of someone’s point of view and understand where they’re coming from, thus avoiding confrontations. Most important however, is that you will able to recognize what is necessary and what’s not, so you won’t waste time with trivial tasks.
Meditation can improve your memory
Studies prove again and again that meditation is an exercise of the brain, and like any other muscle, if you exercise it will grow. One of the many areas of your brain that is benefited by meditation is memory.
Sara Lazar, a Massachusetts General Hospital researcher, associates meditation with the thickening of the cerebral cortex of the brain. After 8 weeks of meditation, the researchers used an MRI machine to analyse the brain of the participants. They found that the gray matter of the hippocampus, which is associated with memory and learning, had a bigger density.
That doesn’t mean that when you study or are at a meeting you won’t need to take notes, but when you want to revisit your notes you will be able to remember the key points faster. You will remember maps and street names or remember people’s names and avoid awkward situations and so on.
When working on a project you will be able to recall information faster, as well as associate different types of information stored in your brain in a faster rate, increasing your productivity and creativity.
Benefits of meditation in productivity and creativity
To summarize, meditation can benefit your productivity and creativity by lowering stress levels, increasing mental focus, expand your perspective and improve your memory. These are only a few of the many areas of your life that will improve if you spend a few minutes of your day to meditate.
Start meditating today, if possible through the guidance of an experienced meditator, and see for yourself how your life will change in a few weeks time.