Boosting productivity and mood: Why it's madness not to meditate 3 years ago

Boosting productivity and mood: Why it's madness not to meditate

Although it might sound counter-intuitive to busy mums, the best way to get more done each day is spend at least ten minutes meditating at the start of each day.

Author of The Authority Guide to Practical Mindfulness, Tom Evans, says that while many people turn to meditation to help reduce stress or anxiety, there is a more practical incentive to start meditating each day. The time we invest comes back to us many times over as we become more productive, more vital and generally happier in life and as parents.

Evans says that the practice of mindfulness meditation does not teach us how to have no thoughts at all, but instead to form a new relationship with our thoughts,

"The normal human mind can only experience one thought at a time. So if we mull over the past or fret about the future, we lose focus on what we should be working on and our efficiency drops accordingly."

These days there is no need to find a guru or travel to an ashram for a silent retreat for two weeks. There are many free or inexpensive meditations and meditation apps available. So if you have a smartphone, you already have access to a ‘guru’ in your pocket. No excuse then mamas!

Starting something new

If you are starting a new practice, it’s a win-win if you can stop something else you don’t like doing at the same time. So, first thing in the morning, instead of checking social media, still use your phone or tablet but instead listen to a guided meditation or some relaxing ambient music. If you happen to be awake in the middle of the night, you can use a meditation to get you back to sleep too.

The inspirational breath

Many meditations use the breath as a point of focus. This is because when we think of something other than what we are thinking about, the original thought tends to fade away. As we all have to breathe anyway, this is a good thing. Our breath does more than keep us alive though. The neurons in our brain need oxygen to function and deep breathing puts more oxygen in our blood. Without it, neurons degenerate and die.

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Being creative while you sleep

What better way to get more things done than to use our sleeping time to be creative? Without a good night’s sleep, our efficiency will drop the next day. You will find a great way to ensure you slumber well is to meditate before going to sleep. If there is something bothering you, Tom suggests that you write down your question on a scrap of paper and put it under your pillow before you try to nod off. The author says you might find that you either dream up the answer or wake up with it the next day.

Getting in the zone

Once you have meditated every morning for one or two weeks, you will find it easier to maintain a meditative state with your eyes open. When you do this, you will find two things happen. Firstly, time takes on a different quality and you will discover all your jobs get done within the time you have available. Secondly, you become better at maintaining your focus as you reduce interruptions from what is known as your 'monkey mind', which has a tendency to wander off of its own accord.

Just in time

So after only a few weeks of regular meditation, you will find you get more done with less time. At the same time, as your mind is less busy, you will become better at noticing signs, little serendipities and coincidences around you. Evans says that these opportunities are always there but can bypass a self-absorbed mind.

What’s so good about this is that your meditation investment is only ten minutes a day - time very well spent for stressed and busy parents.

Tom Evans is an author, mindfulness trainer, and meditation guide on Insight Timer. You can find him tweeting @thebookwright or read more on his blog.