It is the middle of the day and a heavy lunch is settling contentedly in your stomach. After the all-guns-blazing start you had this morning, your energy is on the wane. Yawns get more frequent, your eye-lids insist on giving in to gravity and you are getting some seriously scary looks from your boss as he passes by. A scenario familiar to anyone who has ever worked, energy dips in your workday not only affect your efficiency, they disturb your state of mind as well.
Professional workspaces today are riddled with stress factors. From unrealistic deadlines to highly competitive environments, there are a multitude of triggers that can set off an energy dip in your day. Stress triggers our natural fight-or-flight instinct in turn releasing cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone and one of the most energy zapping hormones in the human body. It is anathema to productivity. There are, however, ways to neutralize this.
Meditation has proven to be a stress-buster and can work wonders on your cortisol levels. There are a number of meditation techniques that you can employ during the course of the day. A University of Rutgers study found that it could lower as much as 50% of your cortisol levels when done regularly.
There a number of different meditation techniques, and hardly a one-size-fits-all solution. The Beatles were famously devoted to Transcendental Meditation, as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. There are, however, many free meditation techniques that are as or more effective in boosting your energy levels. Three of the most effective are mentioned below.
Inherently a Buddhist tradition, this technique of meditation is being widely applied around the world to help people deal with stress. Buddhist practices like Zazen or Anapasati, which also means mindfulness of breathing, are ancient techniques that can help calm you and increase your energy levels. Derived from the same, mindfulness meditation is one of the easiest and most widely used method of meditation.
How to do it: Sit on a cushion or a chair, make sure back is not supported and is straight. Close your eyes and pay close attention to your breath. The focus of this meditation is to be acutely aware of the flow of one’s breath. It is the process of being in the present moment. Thoughts will arise, feelings will appear, but the idea is to not lose oneself in them. Thus the word mindfulness.
This meditation is all about finding a chant that suits you best and using it to channel your energies and refocus oneself. Any word can be a mantra, but usually in Hindu tradition the words Om, or So-ham are often used. Some yogic meditation practices even propose the concept of a deeksha, or the gift of a unique mantra for the individual. “The mantra is a tool to support your meditation practice. Mantras can be viewed as ancient power words with subtle intentions that help us connect to spirit, the source of everything in the universe.” Said Deepak Chopra.
How to do it: Once again, sitting in a comfortable position with a straight back is necessary. Keep your eyes lightly closed and repeat the mantra to yourself. You can do it aloud or you can repeat it silently, in either cases keep repeating for a fixed amount of time or repetitions.
Focused Attention Meditation
Vipassana is the perfect example of focused attention meditation. It creates a pin-point focus for the individual, and while it may take practice, it does bring with it a host of benefits. Not only does it curtail your cortisol levels it also provides for a great way to boost your concentration and productivity.
How to do it: It is a step-by-step process, but it once again has beginnings in mindfulness meditation. What starts with a focus on breathing later develops to creating a greater and more pointed attention on one’s thoughts and feelings without any form of attachment. It usually requires a proficient practitioner to help a beginner through the stages.
- What’s the name of the hormone that saps energy from your body?
- Which legendary music group was devoted to the practice of meditation?