Meditation could be just the solution frazzled leaders need. If you’re struggling with stress and chaos at work, you aren’t alone. A recent survey found that nearly one-third of all managers can’t handle high-pressure situations. This directly translates to their team. When faced with a stressed-out boss, 62 percent of employees consider leaving their jobs, 47 percent feel frustrated and angry, and 56 percent participate less.
You can counteract stress and become a more calm, collected, and effective leader through meditation. By introducing mindfulness into your daily routine, you’ll see positive benefits in all aspects of your performance.
If you need convincing, dive into the facts and find out why leaders should practice meditation.
Meditation has a low barrier to entry
Online conferences, coaching, therapy—there are countless resources and tools for leaders looking to develop and bolster their professional skills. Each of these are valuable opportunities, but for a time-crunched leader, meditation presents a cheaper, easier, more convenient solution to clearing the clutter in your mind.
More importantly, meditating doesn’t have to be a complicated or lengthy activity. Tay and Val, founders of M Meditation, teach corporate leaders how to meditate. In their recent post, "The Meditation Tips You Need to Create Practice IRL," they share a few simple steps for getting started:
- Start small: Try one short and simple meditation daily to get started. You can use a guided app or sit with a timer and take deep breaths for one minute.
- Create a habit: Meditate at the same time each day to establish a pattern and make meditation part of your daily routine.
- Try habit stacking: A new habit tends to stick better when you pair it with an existing habit. For example, meditate right before your morning coffee.
- Return to the practice: Your mind will wander, and thoughts will interrupt. But don’t give up, that’s part of the practice. The more you stop your thoughts and return to your breath, mantra, or meditation, the easier it will be—it’s like muscle memory.
- Be patient: Don’t get discouraged. Meditation may feel like a chore. Know that some days you might be able to sit longer than others and that’s okay.
Leading and managing others is stressful and, conveniently, one of the most well-known and obvious side effects of meditation is stress reduction. What’s more, the benefits are immediate. One brief introductory meditation session can yield results such as reduced mechanical stress on your arteries, according to recent research. With regular practice, you can also expect less stress in the brain and kidneys, and lower blood pressure, all of which make you a happier and healthier leader.
Finally, a recent study found that health-promoting workplaces can directly influence an employee’s health and limit the risk of burnout. Meditation allows you to lead by example and create a healthier work culture as a health-conscious professional.
Navigate challenges with greater ease
Meditation is a mindfulness activity and mindfulness can be valuable to you as a leader. In fact, researchers used MRIs on those participating in mindfulness-based activities and found reduced activity in the parts of the brain that cause negative emotions.
In effect, mindfulness practices, like meditation, help train your brain to better regulate emotions, allowing you to manage your stress and anxiety. This, in turn, better prepares you to handle challenging situations and employees with greater ease and happiness.
Meditation is used by many leaders
You’re not the first leader to consider meditation as a method for managing the stresses that come with the job and perform better in your job. These prominent leaders credit their success to meditation:
- Billionaire Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates (the largest hedge fund in the world), says transcendental meditation is the single most important reason for his success.
- Salesforce founder Marc Benioff told The New York Times how meditation influenced his management style, as well as why he put meditation rooms in his global offices.
- Arianna Huffington, founder of HuffPost, is a strong proponent of mindfulness and meditation and created Thrive Global to promote wellness in the workplace and life.
- Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Company, told Harvard Business Review, that daily meditation got him through his family’s company approaching bankruptcy.
Start your meditation practice today
Now is the time to bring meditation into your daily routine. Not only will you feel less stressed, but you can pass your new practice and calm demeanor on to employees who may also be feeling anxious in the workplace. Just remember to be patient with yourself as you learn—if you can, you’ll immediately start reaping the benefits.
To learn more about wellness in the workplace, check out Achievers’ webinar recording, “The Evolution of Connection and Need for Belonging.”
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