Close your eyes. Take a long, deep breath in and exhale. Feel better? The simple act of being inside one’s own mind is not only crucial for centering one’s thoughts, but also for enhancing creativity. A study conducted at the Institute for Psychological Research and the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition in the Netherlands, found that routine meditation can actually boost creativity, measured by the number, diversity and originality of ideas while brainstorming.
Nineteen healthy adults aged 30 to 56 volunteered for the study. All volunteers were experts in two commonly recognized types of meditation, FA (Focused Attention) and OM (Open Monitoring) (the average length of study for each of these is about two years). The individuals participated in three 45-minute sessions, with each session separated by 10 days. They were instructed to meditate for 35 minutes, then complete a short exam for 10 minutes. In one of the exams, participants were asked to list possible uses for six common household items (brick, shoe, newspaper, pen, towel and bottle). The results were scored based upon originality, fluency, flexibility and elaboration. As expected, the results varied from person to person. However, the researchers discovered that not only is creativity enhanced after meditation, but it can be measured. This information is considered groundbreaking in the field of cognitive studies.
There are many benefits to meditation, but perhaps one of the greatest is enhanced productivity in the workplace. Employees who practice meditation both inside and outside of work are not only more creative, but they are more likely to tackle the difficult tasks of the day without becoming frazzled. Employees will be more likely to think of new ideas and come up with innovative solutions to challenges. Performing a basic meditation technique during work hours can boost mental performance to create a tranquil, fluid environment where creativity can flourish.
A simple meditation that can be done during work hours is called “mindful breathing.” Inhale deeply until your stomach fully extends, then pull your navel in toward your spine as you exhale. According to Michael Murphy and Steven Donovan’s The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation, this easy method can help to relax high blood pressure whilst increasing oxygen flow to the brain. This stress-relieving technique can enhance your team’s alertness and concentration so that work can be completed with optimum proficiency while allowing them to reap the powerful benefits meditation can bring.
Some of the benefits of meditation in the workplace include:
- Amplified attention span
- Reduced feelings of anxiety, depression and stress
- Increased pain tolerance
- Increased immunity against disease
- Increased resilience during difficult situations
- Improved metabolism and aids in weight loss
- Reduced feelings of loneliness; increased feelings of social connection
- Reduced insomnia
- Increased brain volume: specifically in areas for memory, emotional regulation, positivity and self-control
- Increased self-awareness and appreciation for being alive
Three Ways to Encourage Meditation During the Workday:
- Send out Daily Meditation Emails: Start off each morning with a new meditation tip sent directly to your employee’s inbox. Alternatively, you could post a meditation schedule around the office with a new meditation selected for each day of the week.
- Create a Meditation Room: Designate a room within the office building where employees can go incrementally throughout the day to take a break. Add some comfortable cushions, warm colors, and soft lighting for enhanced serenity.
- Use the Buddy System: It can be helpful to have a community of meditators within the office to pursue meditation together. Suggest creating a meditation group so that employees can practice together on their lunch breaks, or another break, for ten minutes each day.
Who knew that enhancing the creativity level of your employees could be as easy as breathing?