There is a better understanding of mindfulness, wellness, and stress management than ever before, but the nature of our working habits has remained surprisingly similar. Worplace meditation practitioner Emma Ball discusses why meditation can have such a profound impact on how we work.
Most people will agree that meditation was rarely, if ever, spoken of in the UK outside of select circles fifteen, or even ten years ago. But presently, if we don’t do it ourselves, we probably know someone who does. There are those who swear by it, and others who dip in from time to time – especially during moments of crisis.
Whilst there has been enormous growth in practice of meditation in recent years and a better understanding of mindfulness, wellness, and stress management than ever before, the nature of our working habits has remained surprisingly similar. There is an argument to say that we are in fact placing even more pressure on ourselves today, thanks to the rise of an ‘always on’ culture perpetuated by our habit of carrying our work world in our pocket with us.
Meditation, breathwork and energy healing practitioner Emma Ball has been hosting Myo’s meditation class for the last few years via her business Evolve healing and meditation. As well as Myo, she works with many other businesses such as Designers Guild and Motion Pictures Solutions, to provide classes and sessions.
We spoke to Emma about why meditation can have such a profound impact on how we work.
How to Approach Meditation
Meditation works on the basis that everything is energy, frequency and vibration. So, if we think about how we tackle a task at work, be that big or small, we bring energy to that task. If you go into something feeling moody or cross, you will bring that energy with you. And, if that’s how you feel when you enter into something, it is very likely that you will struggle with it. Conversely, if you bring positivity and optimism to that task, you are more likely to succeed in whatever you are endeavoring to do.
What meditation teaches us is to cleanse our energy. You might wake up in the morning and feel a certain way. If you just take ten minutes to address your energy, through meditation, you can set yourself up for the day in a positive way; in the same way we go through our other morning rituals like having a shower, we already know we need to set ourselves up to look our best, but we shouldn’t neglect the mind and how we feel.
Some people will say to me: ‘I don’t have a spare ten minutes in the morning’. My response is often if you can’t make time for yourself, before you give your whole day to something else: your boss, your work, your family’s needs. Perhaps you also need to address your self-worth. You are worth taking a few minutes just to balance your energy ready for your day.
Improving Workplace Performance through Meditation
In a working perspective, having balanced energy is not just something we can enjoy the personal benefits
In a working perspective, having balanced energy is not just something we can enjoy the personal benefits of. It’s something that can help entire teams. If you’ve ever entered a meeting and someone there is angry, you’ll know how that can bring down the whole room, sap the energy and make everyone feel despondent. As we go up the corporate ladder and become managers and leaders, we should be aware that our energy can have a positive impact on our team. Just by sitting next to someone who is giving off good energy can give you a boost.
Meditation also helps us to be more resilient at work. Part of what we do in our Myo class is sort of what you do all day long: you ruminate things, you worry about things. Meditation gives you space to do that, but also to notice your thoughts and to realise that you are not those thoughts, but you are the observer of them. Being able to see our thoughts helps us to manage them and our emotions, which in turn helps us to respond, rather than react to situations. If we were taught this as children at school we would all have better relationships with the people around us. It’s obvious that at work, people who have the ability to calmly respond rather than knee-jerk react, are the people you want to have around you in a stressful scenario. Stepping back from our thoughts also helps us to articulate better how we feel and to analyse the situation around us with more clarity. Better communication of our thoughts and feelings help us enormously to communicate to our clients and colleagues.
Another thing we practice is manifestation. I strongly believe, because it has happened in my own life, that you can manifest the positive things you want to happen by visualising them in your mind and moving your energy towards them. Regardless of what you believe, when you visualise a goal, really see yourself achieving it, you are more likely to reach it.
Overcoming Adversity in the Workplace
The last key area (and by no means least) is breathing and breath work. It seems simple, we have to breathe to live, but how we breathe is directly linked to how we feel. We can change how the body is physically reacting to something by changing our breathing. The patterns in which we breathe can lead the breath from a sympathetic nervous system, which is what happens when we are in fight or flight mode, to a pallor sympathetic nervous system, which is when you are feeling much calmer and more relaxed. We’re not working to remove fight or flight, we need that instinct, but often we turn to it too much to deal with issues in our day-to-day life which are not akin to running from a predator, as they would be when the body devised that coping method.
Being able to breathe to calm yourself down has huge benefits at work. It can help us prepare for a meeting and perform in a way that is calmer and more natural. It can help us deal with difficult situations and it can help us when we get home. In order to do our best work we need to be able to rest and get a good nights sleep. Breathing techniques can help us to do that, which has a knock-on effect on our energy and how we are at work. What I hope is becoming clear is that all these areas are related, bringing us back to our energy, frequency and vibration.
Meditation in Myo Flexible Offices
Myo are ahead of the curve when it comes to offering regular meditation sessions and I’ve seen more businesses tap into this recently. A bi-monthly class like our Myo class is great because it gives people the chance to try it and it takes hardly any commitment. I’m fascinated to see how far we can go with work and meditation. I’d love to work with, or hear of, a business that uses meditation as a tool to connect a team. Imagine, just before a big pitch, sitting in a room with your team, doing a breathing exercise together and visualising your goal of doing well and winning the business. This sounds like a big cultural leap, but it’s not really.
The companies that are waking up to the fact that healthy, calm and happy people perform better are the ones who will start benefiting by encouraging their staff into these healthy habits. What any business should value first and foremost is happy staff. Meditation can help us all be happier in our lives and happier in ourselves, and, let’s face it, that’s the ultimate goal.