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The Benefits Of Meditation In The ‘Work from Home’ Era
by Amber Panting
The impact of COVID-19 has affected us all in some way or another and many of us have found ourselves confronted with the reality of having to work from home.
Working from home has many obvious benefits. No more anxiety inducing commute, no more uncivilised alarm clocks at stupid o’clock. Now is the time of Zoom calls and disheveled hair or, at best, self care consisting mostly of what is visible from the waist up.
Working from home has meant completely relearning how to exist and be in the world. For many of us, we have spent our lives being spoon-fed what to do and where to go. Now, for the millions of people working from home, actually being in charge of our time and schedule has been an eye opening experience. It has also meant that the boundaries between work and home life all but seem to have disappeared and are now merely a distant memory. We now answer work emails and stay online well into the evening.
Now more than ever it is difficult to switch off, to disconnect, to do something (anything!), for pleasure without feeling a pang of guilt for wasting our precious time. Now more than ever we are our jobs - they have all but consumed our whole identity.
Meditate For A Clearer Mind
When there is so much to do, it is easy to start the day on the wrong foot. It is easy to wake up overwhelmed and already feeling like you are behind. If we are not careful, the day has barely begun and we already feel like a failure.
Starting the day with meditation can change that. It might be the last thing that you think you have time for but in actual fact, you will be doing yourself a favour.
Meditation clears away the detritus from the overwhelmed mind and helps us to think more clearly. Rather than seeing a jumbled mass of ideas, competing thoughts and to-do lists, meditation helps us to organise our thoughts and to recognise each individual thought. This serves as a kind of pre-planning activity and saves precious time later, enabling us to move calmly and gracefully between tasks.
Meditate For A Sharper Focus
Our brains, like our muscles, need a good work out and without practice and constant use, our brains will deteriorate. Fortunately our minds are pretty amazing and it doesn't take much practice to train our brains to become sharper and well focused. Scientists refer to the brain's ability to rewire itself as Brain Plasticity.
Meditation has been found to have profound effects upon the brain's ability to function and we can literally change our brains through mental training. Meditation enables us to focus on the task at hand, prevents our minds from wandering and even helps us make fewer mistakes.
When we are distracted, which is inevitably going to happen in your new work from home environments, with practice, mediation helps us to refocus our attention and return to a productive frame of mind.
Meditate to Learn Patience Or Acceptance
Meditation also teaches us to be patient. Patience is a virtue or so the old adage goes. But did you know that it is also linked to success. The ability to delay gratification, to accept things as they unfold and the recognition that in fact most things are outside of our control are not life skills that we are taught in school, but continue to play a major role in how we experience life and the state of our mental health.
Continuing on our journey without losing hope and without ever being sure that our efforts will prove fruitful is a reality for all of us. Whether we are able to get into a transcendental state or just sit still and quietly for a few minutes, meditation is an essential skill for everyday life.
Patience teaches us that good things take time. Whether we succeed or fail can be outside of our control or take longer than expected. We need to learn to carry on regardless and not to associate our success or failure with our value as human beings.
Consistency Is Key
For many of us, our brains control us more than we realise, rather than the other way around. We are a slave to our subconscious. Meditation can help to change that.
The good news is that even two minutes is beneficial. Of course, 20 minutes is better than two but two is better than nothing. The key, similar to building up any core strength or habit, is consistency. Even the busiest amongst us can spare two minutes in our day.
Something Bigger Than Ourselves
None of us will ever experience any other reality than that of ourselves. It is obvious but profound. We can imagine but we don’t really know how it feels to be anyone else; nor will we ever. How can we not, therefore, get caught up in our own reality and problems. Over playing the significance of our own problems is a normal part of human life.
Being able to meditate, to be able to sit quietly and reflectively helps us to critically evaluate our own reality. Being able to reflect on the day without casting judgement goes a long way towards being a better calmer person and goes a long way towards self acceptance and self love.
Meditation helps us to put our reality into perspective. It helps us to see the wood for the trees and to think about our own reality and behaviour objectively. The ability to do so makes life easier and makes us better people, being kinder both to ourselves and to others.
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