We’re all looking for ways to be more productive in our lives. To squeeze as much as we possibly can out of every 24 hour segment. However, counterintuitively, one of the best ways to increase your productivity is to loosen your grip. To lean back, take a breath, and to clear your mind.
To meditate, in other words.
Even taking 5-10 minutes a day to get comfortable and meditate can have far-reaching consequences. Especially if you make a habit of it. Some of the biggest benefits you’ll get from regular meditation include…
Meditation is relaxing; that’s the entire point. The goal is to get your mind to let go of its stresses, and to relinquish your stranglehold on your alertness.
Why will that make you more productive? Well, ask yourself how productive you get when you’re loaded down with stress and trying to function. Now compare that to how you function when you’re fresh, relaxed, and full of energy. Stress is a burden, and it takes a toll on your concentration, your focus, and your ability to get the job done. Setting down that burden makes it a lot easier to get more out of your day.
#2: Organizing Your Mind
Our brains can be pretty cluttered places, especially if we don’t take the time to organize them. If you’re running around from one task to another, you aren’t taking the time to let yourself pick up the clutter. That can slow down your mental faculties, and make it harder to remember things you’ve learned. Meditation is a way of taking all the information you have, and filing it into the proper drawers of your brain’s card catalog. It may only be 10 minutes in the afternoon, but that 10 minutes can have a big effect on how you spend the rest of your day.
#3: See The Path You Need To Take
There is a principle in Buddhism called “right thought” that meditation encourages. In short, right thought is the idea that by clearing your mind you will see the path you need to take, free from distractions, doubts, and other burdens that can hamper your progress. We all do this in our daily lives already. You picture yourself giving a speech at an upcoming meeting, for example. Meditation allows you to focus on this kind of mental GPS, figuring out what you need to do, and clearing away distractions that are stopping you from doing it.
#4: Meditation Encourages Creativity
Have you ever noticed you tend to have your best ideas in the shower? Or at the gym, when you have your headphones in and the rest of the world tuned out? Did you ever wonder why that was the case?
Well, it has to do with the way your brain functions. You see, when you’re focusing on things that activates your prefrontal cortex. That’s where all your focus and concentration comes from. However, your brain has a default mode where the prefrontal cortex is not engaged. That default mode, referred to as DMN for default mode network according to Mental Floss, is where most of our creativity comes from.
Meditation is a simple way to disengage the prefrontal cortex for brief periods of time, and to put our brains back into their default settings. That’s where we make intuitive connections, come up with creative ideas, and solve problems in ways that we never would have thought of under other circumstances. Because sometimes all you need to do is sit down, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and let your mind wander. Like getting out of a Chinese finger trap, you need to relax in order to move forward.