There is an increasing number of science-backed evidences on the benefits of a regular meditation practice to the mind and body, which has seen the rise of training programs, books, and meditation apps used by individuals and institutions alike.
Meditation is your best ally in a world where you are constantly trying to strike a balance between your personal and professional lives. It can help you mentally survive a daily routine of multi-tasking, as well as equip you with the tools to regulate your emotions during challenging times.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging machines (fMRIs) have found that meditation helps improve cognitive functions through increasing the thickness of the prefrontal cortex region of the brain, which is essential for sensory and emotional regulation.
In The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress, Gloria Mark et. al of the University of California, Irvine and Humboldt University of Berlin estimate that it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to an original task when interrupted. In another study, Giuseppe Pagnoni, a neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, reported that the minds of people who meditated can refocus faster after a distraction than those who do not, thus offering the potential of meditation as a magic pill for focus.
Bill Gates was a former skeptic, but has since been transformed by Andy Puddicombe, ex-monk and cofounder of the Headspace app. According to him, meditation helps improve his focus amid his responsibilities as a husband and a father of three with a “broader set of professional and personal interests”—which is a humble way of saying that a man who has been named Forbes Richest 16 times does need tools to focus!
Headspace is the so-called low barrier entry for mediation newbies. While Bill and Melinda Gates prefer to meditate on comfortable chairs, meditating on your long commutes - where you are not driving - may help you prepare for a day at work and relax after.
The app may be downloaded on Android and iOS for free, but the best features may be unlocked through an affordable paid subscription. Here are some of the features I personally liked:
A varied range of meditation programs that suit your objective (stress and anxiety, falling asleep and waking up, personal growth, work and productivity, life challenges, physical health, and movement and sport, to name a few, with exercises for kids and students)
Notifications and reminders that can be enabled for your preferred mindful moments lasting for 5, 10 or 15 minutes
Has stats monitoring and buddy-sharing features
Has additional courses on mindfulness (paid feature)
Click here to download the Headspace meditation app.