These days we’ve got distractions coming to us from all angles. When it comes to business meetings, how do you keep your team focused? Flashy presentations? Rewards and consequences? The carrot or the stick?
Justyn Comer thinks you should meditate.
Yes, it might sound a little out there to the uninitiated, but as a management consultant, author, and meditation enthusiast, Comer claims you can keep your team alert and on point by using core values of meditation.
“Meditation is training that keeps you focused and concentrated — this helps work get done more quickly and with better quality,” says Comer, author of Meditation for Life.
Turns out, he might not be far off. This mind and body practice can increase calmness and relaxation, and some research suggests meditation may even physically alter the brain and body, and could potentially help to improve many health problems and promote healthy behaviors.
Meditation expands our awareness, which is powerful — but it might sound a bit complicated if you’ve never tried it before.
WORKING IN YOUR FAVOR
The practice of meditation helps us change the focus and direction of our attention so that the mind is working in our favor again.
“Meditation recognizes that our mind as we traditionally use it has its strengths, but it also has its limitations. Sometimes our mind is our best friend; sometimes it is our worst enemy. Meditation improves our awareness such that it helps us see the difference,” Comer tells HER Magazine.
Take a minute to pause and notice that you are breathing. Pay attention to the air and your body as it moves while you are breathing. Instead of having your mind wander across all your worries, hopes and fears, take time to sit for a bit and try to stay focused on the present moment. Just breathe.
“At some point, you will notice that your mind has wandered. You can see where it went, and then gently return your attention to your point of focus,” says Comer. “This is meditation — placing the attention in the present, getting distracted repeatedly, and putting the attention back into the present.”
IMPROVING YOUR WORKFLOW
Stress is caused by different factors, and if you are feeling burnt out or lacking focus at work, that can have a negative impact on your career.
Sitting down and meditating won’t stop your mind from wandering between issues at home and work, but it will help you start to recognize it faster when it happens. By practicing meditation, you can train yourself to put the focus back where you want it.
“One of the benefits of meditation is our tapping into this part of ourselves a bit more. Our communication skills (both presenting and listening) are enhanced,” says Comer. “Our focus and concentration can help us be more efficient in our work, but clarity of thought and less stress also uses up less energy so that we can operate at higher levels of intensity for longer.”
After a few seconds of meditating, you might start to notice how easy it is for your mind to begin to think about other things. This usually happens after the first few seconds. When you begin to understand the nature of attention, it will be easy to figure out how you should run meetings and presentations.
KEEP UP WITH YOUR PRACTICE
There really is no best time to meditate. Whenever you have time is the best time to meditate. Most people with a regular practice choose to do so in the morning to make sure it gets done every day.
“It’s generally not recommended to do it after a big meal — but that’s mainly because you’ll find it hard to stay awake and focused,” Comer says.
By practicing meditation regularly, you will start to notice profound benefits show up in your life, according to Comer, who typically meditates every day. Some days, he meditates for five minutes all day long; other days, for 40 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening.
“Meditation is probably best known as a stress management exercise, and although one of my main messages is that meditation is so much more than just stress relief, it is also great at stress relief,” he says. “Meditation gets us to see our deep-seated attitudes, motivations, prejudices, and beliefs. Through meditation, we can start to see how our animosity towards our bodies can transform into kindness, generosity, and love. Not surprisingly, we end up treating it dramatically better once we respect it for what it is, instead of focusing on what it isn’t.”
The practice of meditation won’t stop life from being challenging, but it could help you stay calmer under challenging situations.
“Circumstances will arise where we have to experience the full range of human emotions including sadness, fear, jealousy, frustration, and anger. Meditation helps us manage these feelings more skillfully so that they don’t hijack our behavior as much, and we can bounce back more quickly,” says Comer.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR MEDITATING
1) Don’t make it into a big deal. Pause – take a breath, and pay attention to your breathing. That’s meditation.
2) Do it whenever you have a minute. If you wait until you can get five or ten minutes, you might be waiting for a long time and never get around to doing it. Take a minute here and there during the day and start to bring it into your life more regularly.
3) Don’t judge yourself for getting distracted. You’re human, and your mind likes to wander. Most of the time it is an exercise of brief moments of focus followed by distraction followed by refocusing followed by distraction. The benefit is there when you are calm, and when you’re not. Just keep doing it.
See if your team will try it — and let us know if you notice a difference!