This article first appeared in chopra.com and is written by Elba Mueller
In order to remain competitive in today’s market, successful companies need:
- To possess a clear vision of their goals
- Inspiration to be innovative in their approach to supplying products and services
- Leadership to guide individuals towards success
- Teamwork to enable employees to keep up in today’s global marketplace
The practice of meditation helps to make all of this possible. The Harvard Business School along with INSEAD—Europe’s leading business school—have concluded from their research that the two most effective business tools for twenty-first century executives are meditation and intuition. The benefits of meditation in the workplace are cumulative; they build on one another, starting with the individual and from there, positively impacting the performance of the business as a whole.
The Individual’s Role
The success of any business begins with the individual because innovation and inspiration are born at the individual level. The potential for greatness is inside each person that realizes there are infinite possibilities all around them, and that their creativity is limitless. Unfortunately, most individuals find that their potential is seriously limited by stress, which can:
Block creativity, inspiration, and mental clarity
Damage relationships with others, which in turn negatively impacts teamwork
Cause insomnia, which leads to a decrease in new thinking, inspiration, and innovation
Cause anxiety, which can make it difficult to work on a team that requires patience and collaboration
Cause individuals to doubt their true talents, which can lead to limiting thoughts and inhibit drive and passion
Meditation in the Workplace
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, and has survived all this time because it works. My passion for bringing meditation to the workplace stems from the time I spent in the workplace and suffered the negative effects of stress almost every day of my working life. Not only was I unproductive and difficult to work with, I also felt tired and irritable most the time. I was sick quite often, and whatever creativity I possessed was nowhere to be found. There was no clarity or peace in my personal life, which led to none in my working life.
Today, I consider myself a ‘stress survivor,’ thanks to my meditation practice. As living proof, I know meditation can benefit any individual or business in limitless ways. Here are the top five benefits I feel meditation brings to the business world:
Clarity and Focus
Every time we encounter an obstacle to fulfilling our goals, we face stress. It’s been documented that most people find themselves facing a “fight or flight” decision an average of 12 times each day. The state of “fight or flight” is an acute stress response that can adversely affect digestion, heart rate, respiratory rate, and the general effectiveness of the immune system. If employees are busy simply trying to survive, their minds will become hazy in all that they do.
It’s no secret that human beings only operate at about five percent of their mental capacity, and it sometimes seems as if we are comfortable with that limitation. Clarity and the ability to focus on goals are crucial to the success of any business. Both of these are a byproduct of the inner calm and peace that meditation brings.
Increased Employee Loyalty
A company that offers meditation as part of an employee wellness program shows they care about its employees and will gain the loyalty of workers at every level, which will result in less personnel turnover and increased employee retention. Loyal employees will be less likely to test the job market, and will generally remain with a company for a longer period of time. Loyal employees will also tend to feel that the success of the company they work for is directly related to their own success, and therefore work harder to achieve the company’s goals.
A clear mind will express clear thoughts. Clear, effective communication between managers and employees is crucial to the smooth running of any business operation. Unfortunately, effective communication at all levels is an area in which many businesses need improvement. Clear communication is a result of the clarity and focus that meditation brings to the workplace.
Decreased Absenteeism Due to Illness
In today’s fast-paced business world, there is no way to avoid stress. However, meditation allows the individual to effectively deal with stress, which helps to improve their overall health, reducing their risk of heart disease, stroke, clinical depression, and a myriad of other conditions that cause employee absenteeism.
The practice of meditation will help to improve the general productivity in companies of any size or industry. By helping employees at all levels deal with their stress effectively; focus more clearly on their own goals and the goals of the company; and communicate clearly with the other members of their team; the productivity of the employee will improve. And when productivity improves at the individual level, overall productivity of the company improves, too … which leads to increased profits and a healthier bottom line.
Whether a company employs 25 people or 25,000, it can reap huge benefits from providing meditation instruction to its workers as part of their employee development program.
Elba Mueller has experienced first-hand the effects of high stress, and learned that meditation is the best technique to release stress and live peacefully and joyfully. She is now a certified instructor in Primordial Sound Meditation and her passion is bringing the benefits of meditation to the workplace and the general public.