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How Meditation Can Improve Your Work and Life

Meditation may sound like something that has no place outside of the yoga studio. But even if you’ve never done a downward dog in your life, it can still provide huge benefits. Recent research has shown that meditation can improve everything from leadership to health, and it costs absolutely nothing to do.

These are just some of the reasons why meditation is a fantastic tool:

- It combats the negative side effects of a high-pressure lifestyle. Our lives are filled with a nearly unfathomable amount of stress. This stress can lead to anxiety, depression and exacerbated fears. Meditation is one of the best ways to get some quiet amongst the craziness.

- It makes you more creative. A state of mindfulness allows you to see things from different perspectives and come up with new ideas.

- It improves your business performance. Research shows that meditation can help business people change course when initial plans don’t work out. By being able to recognize when a project needs to be scrapped, you’ll save time and energy.

- It makes you a better leader. Meditation heightens your self-awareness, allowing you to better understand who you are and how you work. This knowledge will help you identify your own strengths and weaknesses and will guide you in leading others.

- It physically alters your brain (in a great way). Neuroscientists have found that meditation literally sculpts your brain as exercise sculpts muscles. This boosts resilience, empathy, focus and rationality.

So how do you go about meditating without getting out your yoga mat and playing Enya in your cubicle? Thankfully, meditation can be done in three very simple steps.

1. Find a comfortable position. This can be as simple as sitting up straight in your office chair or as relaxed as lying down on the floor.

2. Get in touch with your breathing. Close your eyes and identify where you feel your breath most prominently (abdomen, diaphragm, nostrils, etc.). Focus your attention to that place and the rhythm of your breath.

3. Detach from your thoughts. This doesn’t mean that your mind will be totally blank, but rather that you will achieve a state of mindfulness. Distracting thoughts are bound to show up, but simply refocus your breathing and try to gently get past them. Before you know it, your mind will seem quiet and your thoughts will be calm and clear.