There are a range of reasons to practice meditation and numerous forms of meditation of which to practice, but let’s keep it simple, time is a valuable resource so why would I spend time meditating every day?
It is commonly said that time is our most precious resource, as with all resources though, it is important to look at not just quantity, but quality, through meditation we can improve the quality of our time, and therefore, the quality of our life (and the lives of those around us because we are, potentially, less stressful).
So, if I spend 10 – 20 minutes a day practising meditation, what is my ROI?
1 – Calmness
Meditation can literally augment parts of our brains, including our amygdala (associated with emotional response) and it appears this has residual effects, meaning we are not just more relaxed whilst meditating, but in everyday life this has residual effects, helping us to remain calmer.
For our ROI this means that we can potentially stay calmer in stressful work situations, whatever work you are in there will always come stressful moments where being able to stay calm and look clearly at a situation can be the difference between success and failure, the more busy and stressful your work is, the more you need meditation in your life and the more you will see its positive impacts.
2 – Focus
Help focus an overstimulated mind. Today we are flooded with information and content on a very regular basis. The practice of meditation can help us block out some of the noise. It has been shown that it can increase the ability to regulate an important brain wave called the Alpha Rhythm, which is thought to help block out distractions and help focus.
For our ROI we could see an increased ability to focus, meaning that our quality of work and attention to detail can increase, which obviously will help you progress in your career. Outside of the professional sphere though, this can also help us enjoy leisure time and activities more as we are able to focus our attention rather than remaining distracted and not fully in the moment.
3 – Memory
Through practising meditation we can have memory improvements, although the increase will range for different people, it appears overall to have a good effect. Test subjects have been shown to have improved memory of tasks they were doing, including whilst multi-tasking.
Our ROI on increased memory function is fairly straightforward, we are able to retain more of what we are learning every day, making us more knowledgeable with less effort. This has snowballing effects for our professional sphere if we can pick up and retain more useful information in our day-to-day then we can focus on the work at hand rather than looking back to find past knowledge we have forgotten.
Overall ROI of Meditation
Just keeping this simple and looking at 3 key benefits I think we can easily see both a life and professional ROI. By practising meditation we can live a happier, calmer life and improve how we react to everything life throws at us. This will increase your ability to perform professionally by remaining calm and focused throughout the day as well as being able to better retain information, these points are all key abilities for success.
How To Start
An important note here is that meditation does not have to be and should not be hard. It is taking some time out to look after your brain and in time will be very enjoyable. So to get started, here are some options;
For a paid, easy guided option I would recommend the Headspace App this will take you through the basics and then follow on certain focused series like stress, anxiety, anger, etc. Here is a good mediation overview by Andy Puddicombe who is the meditation guide on Headspace.
For an extremely basic DIY option, pick some calming music and set a timer for 10 – 15 minutes (make it a gentle alarm). Sit with your eyes closed and breath in and out calmly, focus on your breathing and count each breath, count to 10 and then start again (helps you focus). Don’t worry too much about the thoughts that come and go, just practice being still and focusing on your breathing.
Try adopting the practice every day for at least 4 weeks and you should start to see some benefits if you can fit it into your morning routine that is ideal, but just find some time whenever you can, I find using a habit tracker helps me stick to this. After initially trying basic meditations you can choose to research further and try other styles or just continue as is, you don’t need to over complicate it. Enjoy!