A prime driver of superior decision-making is maintaining good impulse control. Top leaders are able to maintain self-control, even under great pressure. Not only are they able to make better decisions and work with others effectively, they avoid the most common career derailment: rash, impulsive, emotional outbursts. Meditation can be one tool to help release stress, and to stay composed and focused.
HOW DOES MEDITATION IMPROVE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE?
An advocate of meditation, Peter Bregman writes in the Harvard Business Review, “Research shows that an ability to resist urges will improve your relationships, increase your dependability, and raise your performance. If you can resist your urges, you can make better, more thoughtful decisions. You can be more intentional about what you say and how you say it. You can think about the outcome of your actions before following through on them.”
Did you know that people dumb down during emotional outbursts? How often have you regretted what you said or what you did during the heat of the moment? Or became overly anxious and unable to act? Dr. Relly Nadler estimates that our IQ drops an entire standard deviation during these “hot” moments. Our emotions surge, instantly going from zero to 100, when our amygdala fires up. This surge short-circuits the frontal cortex region in our brain, which in turn turns off one’s ability to think analytically and rationally.
Meditation helps you stay in control so you can improve your emotional intelligence skills.
I first started to meditate during a weekend silent retreat. Of course by focusing on your breathing, thoughts jam right in no matter how much you to try to refocus on breathing. I recalled that the instructor said something very helpful,
“IN MEDITATION, THERE’S GREAT BENEFIT IN THE PROCESS OF GOING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN YOUR THOUGHTS AND YOUR BREATHING.”
I came to realize that “I” was not my thoughts, and I experienced a place of inner peace and stillness. Like hitting a sweet spot. Over the years, my practice really helps to release stress, stay grounded, sharpen my intuition and creativity, and stay unattached to thoughts that are not resourceful. On days when stress gets the best of me, I turn to meditation and yoga to release the stress and bring my body back to a state of calm peacefulness.
Meditation is not aspirin, it is a practice. Certainly one session of meditation may bring calm and focus, but the more robust benefit comes from regular practice. Being skillful at any new activity not only takes regular practice but patience. Meditation is hard, and few really master it. Meditation is truly a case of “it’s the process not the destination.” You will struggle with yourself. There will be days when you don’t feel like doing it. Other days, you may feel frustrated because you can’t tame the armies of random thoughts. Yet, the moments of the sweet spot, and the call of the tranquil safe haven will bring you back. As the benefits rack up, you will find your own reason for returning to your meditation practice. Like building a strong muscle, it takes regular and focused workouts so that when a hot button or crisis moment arrives you already have a well-developed muscle to wield. You will be calm in the eye of the hurricane.
Feel free to comment or give feedback in the Leave a Reply button below. I would love to hear your successes in keeping good self-control at work and how this advances your career. To your meditation practice and having Even More Success!