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Mindful Leadership

7 Fascinating Facts About Meditation and Its Impact on Decision Making and Focus

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I have had the pleasure of exploring a great deal of recent research as I write Mindful Leadership. I would like to share with you some that I think you will find of interest.  Much of the most useful research will be included in the book.

Over the last 15 years there has been excellent research on the physical and emotional benefits of meditation. The Huffington Post has done a great summary of recent research coming up with 7 fascinating facts about meditation, which they describe as:

  1. It makes your brain plastic.
  2. It increases grey matter.
  3. It can be better than sleep.
  4. It’s better than blood pressure medication.
  5. It can protect your telomeres.
  6. It can slow the progression of HIV.
  7. Its pain relieving properties beat morphine.

Thanks to Michelle Wassenaar for the link.  See full article here

There is also very interesting research that has significant implications for leadership. It specifically deals with decision making and the ability to focus.

Improved Decision Making:

Researchers have found that Mindfulness can reprogram the brain to be more rational and less emotional. When faced with a decision, meditators showed increased activity in the posterior insula portion of the brain, which has been linked to rational decision making. This allowed them to make decisions based more on facts than emotion. See full article here:

This is good news since other research has found that reasoning is actually suffused with emotion.  Not only are the two inseparable but our positive and negative feelings about people, things, and ideas arise much more rapidly than our conscious thoughts, in a matter of milliseconds.  We push threatening information away and hold friendly information close. We apply fight or flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself!
See full article here:

Ability to Maintain Concentration and Stay Focused:

A new study from the Harvard Medical School suggests that meditation may modulate brain waves called alpha rhythms, which help regulate the transmission of sensory input from the surrounding environment. Imagine you are reading something in a noisy environment and you want to focus on what you are reading, you might use your alpha rhythms like a volume knob, to turn down the volume on neurons that represent sound from the outside world. We all do this to some extent but meditators become much more skilled at it.  See full article here:

If you consider many open space work environments, you can see why this is a valuable skill that can significantly contribute to greater productivity and higher quality of work.

There is a blog I really enjoy and find useful.  Daron Larson, a fellow meditator, finds good research on meditation and writes about it.  You may wish to check out his blog here:

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