Every day at work, you’re pulled in a hundred directions at once. As you ping pong from email to meetings to phone calls, your stress level rises and you are more easily distracted by useless information.
Instead of giving up your email and smartphone, mindfulness meditation training can help you deal with the stress at work caused by the constant barrage of information.
Mindfulness meditation involves bringing your attention to one object, such as your breathing. Whenever you notice that your mind has drifted—such as to your lunch plans or a work deadline—you just bring your focus back to your breath.
Over time, this type of meditation practice spills over into your everyday life. It becomes easier for you to focus on the task at hand, and you are less likely to get sucked into distractions at work.
A recent study, published in the journal Proceedings of Graphics Interface, tested this in a simulated stressful work environment. People who received eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training were able to improve their concentration—they spent more time on tasks, with less switching.
They also reported less negative emotion and fatigue after completing their work. Even better, their memory improved—they remembered more of what happened during the tasks.
There are many mindfulness meditation programs and resources—such as Jon Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness for Beginners—that can help you learn the basic techniques of keeping yourself focused.
If you start now, you will be ready to test your new powers of concentration at work during the baseball playoffs this fall.