HEALTH

Why Workaholics Should Take Up Meditation

Basically, it will help you dominate in the office.

18/08/2016 4:00 PM AEST | Updated 20/08/2016 12:45 PM AEST
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Reduced stress levels, heightened creativity. Everyone wins.

It's 2016 and yogis aren't the only ones hailing meditation as a transformative practice anymore. Chief executives, actors, comedians and politicians are joining the meditative bandwagon with the practice increasingly growing into office spaces.

Countless studies now reveal meditation is hugely beneficial to our general health, improving our quality of sleep and energy levels while reducing anxiety, addictive tendencies and even reversing of the ageing process (yes, really).

But how exactly does it help us in the workplace?

The Huffington Post Australia spoke to meditation guru and founder of the Bondi Meditation Centre, Matt Ringrose, to find out the professional benefits of meditating.

And there's no shortage of them.

"They'll feel happier, calmer, less reactive when things go wrong and more collaborative in general," Ringrose told HuffPost Australia.

"When they've got pressure, they should be able to access some level of emotional intelligence which helps them realise stressing about it will actually bring them lower performance, less efficiency.

"It's the same thing that will benefit anyone -- just that inner wisdom and perspective."

Stress Reduction

Meditation delivers a physiological response from the body entering a hyperbolic state, said Ringrose, which notably reduces the cortisol and adrenalin levels.

"A couple of things happen in this state. Studies show when you meditate, with vedic meditation or transcendental meditation, it's twice as effective as sleep and about eight times as deep," Ringrose said.

"At that state of rest, the body stops producing as much cortisol and adrenalin and starts producing more serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, so you get a sweeter chemistry. It starts releasing the body's stress in that state as well."

Creativity

There are two reasons meditation allows people to become more creative. The first reason is scientific.

In terms of brain activity, Ringrose said the prefrontal cortex gets more active and there is greater coherence between the left and right -- and front and rear -- of the brain.

"That is going to bring more creative impulses, cognitions and new ideas," Ringrose said.

The second is all about consciousness, which is essentially awareness. Awareness of our inner dialogue gives that fleeting, sometimes irrational and useless chit-chatter in the mind less control.

We can call out the useless stuff more often.

It's like the cinema screen on which the film is projected. This could be our experience of consciousness.Matt Ringrose

"Probably one of the best ways to understand consciousness is to sit quietly and become aware of the stillness in the background which is witnessing what's happening now," Ringrose said.

"So I'm not talking about the thoughts themselves. I'm talking about the thing that sits behind the thoughts, which is aware of the thoughts.

"It's like the cinema screen on which the film is projected. This could be our experience of consciousness."

Having space between our thoughts, which are often cyclical and repetitive, allows us to access our creativity.

"Through meditation we access the source of all creativity, and that's the place where all the good stuff comes from," Ringrose said.

"It's not something we work through in a linear and logical fashion."

Focus And Clarity

Consciousness has a similar effect on our ability to focus. If we're not listening to our inner dialogue as much, we can remain focussed on the task at hand and be in the present moment.

With reduced stress and anxiety levels, we're also able to complete tasks more efficiently with more energy. And we use less energy to complete them.

Fewer Sick Days

Meditation not only benefits employers by having more creative and collaborative teams. They also have staff taking fewer sick days.

"Meditation reduces heart disease by 49 percent," Ringrose said.

Providing relief from depression, anxiety, insomnia while also normalising blood pressure, there's an abundance of mental health and general health benefits which will reduce days off among staff.

So really, everyone wins.

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