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5 Ways Meditation Can Get You Ahead at Work

I’ve interviewed Super Women in every arena: business, fashion, politics, you name it. And while they each stand out in their own way, one quality holds true across the spectrum: they are calm, cool, and collected. So, what’s their secret? They all have serious control of their minds.

Meditation is not all hippie-dippy yogi stuff. In fact, there is so much science backing up its positive effects that doctors prescribe it regularly. Movers and shakers in every industry have credited meditation as contributing to their biggest breakthroughs. And because they know that taking care of your mind is also good business, top companies (like Google, Facebook, Amazon) pay to bring in experts to school their execs on meditation basics and promote it heavily to their employees.

After hearing Super Woman after Super Woman praise the benefits of meditating, I finally accepted that, in order to be successful, I needed to get down with meditating. All that said, I was skeptical. I pictured someone meditating: sitting cross-legged on the floor with their thumbs and middle fingers together, still, silent, and wondered if it really could help me develop my company and write my next book. It turns out meditating is actually one of the most active, disciplined mental exercises I have ever tried. Meditation isn’t so much about sitting in silence; it’s about sitting with yourself and being in control of that silence. The best part: it’s a skill that you can learn, for free, and it’s going to give you an edge.

Here are all the ways meditation can get you ahead.

1. You’ll bring new ideas to meetings.

Meditation has been shown to improve cognitive function and lessen the effects of age on your brain, making you a sharper thinker (and keeping you that way). That means you’ll be more focused to think of your “aha” idea. The best way to invite genius in is by manifesting it.

2. You’ll respond to more emails.

Meditation is a proven way to improve conditions caused or worsened by stress, like an overflowing inbox. Padmasree Warrior, the former chief technology officer of Cisco, managed more than twenty thousand employees at the IT and networking giant, and she keeps her stress level in check with a twenty-minute meditation every evening. She credits those meditations for helping her respond to all her emails.

3. Every colleague will want you on their project.

Therapists recommend meditation to improve their clients’ emotional wellness. It can help with many disorders from depression to addiction, and regular meditation has been shown to decrease anxiety, fear, and apathy while increasing empathy, compassion, and contentment. Thanks to meditation, you’ll head into work upbeat, happy, and ready to work well with any team member. Great news, since team MVPs get the promotion.

4. You’ll take less sick days.

A study that looked at how a group of meditators and nonmeditators responded to the flu vaccine actually found that the meditator group had more antibodies to the vaccine, indicating stronger immune functioning. While no one will protest when you need a sick day, employers do love when you’re present at your desk and getting your work done.

5. You’ll make stronger decisions.

Meditation boosts creativity, moral reasoning, listening, decision-making, and problem-solving skills—like, all of the things you need to get ahead—at work and in life.

Now meditation sounds great, right? A simple way to start is to practice mindfulness meditation as you brush your teeth in the morning and at night: Don’t think about what groceries you need to buy or what some jerk wrote on your last Facebook post, just really focus on brushing your teeth. Yes, the bristles. The water. The mintiness. Zen out for those few minutes and clean your mind of everything but cleaning your teeth. Boom. You just meditated! Now that’s something to smile about.

A version of this article was originally published on Thrive.

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