When you think of meditation you might at first envision free-spirited Bohemians being "one with nature" or silent, disciplined monks at a monastery, but today's savvy business people know that meditation can actually help unlock the secret to success. At Soma, we incorporate meditation into our weekly Monday morning schedule because it helps us be more mindful in the decisions we make, better identify how to help and serve our customers, and how to better fulfill our mission to inspire thoughtful living. Many of the world's most successful people are committed meditators. From Oprah Winfrey to Arianna Huffington to Ray Dalio, founder of one of the world's largest hedge funds, meditation has been commonly harnessed to help achieve business and entrepreneurial success. Here are my four reasons why you should integrate meditation into the workplace.


If you want to accomplish more throughout the work week, add some quality, meaningful "me time" to your day like 10 minutes of undisrupted meditation. Multiple studies show that meditation makes us more productive by helping us to focus on the big wins. According to a University of Washington study, individuals who received meditation training were able to stay on task longer and were less distracted than those who had never practiced meditation. In the same study, meditation also improved test subjects' memory while regulating their overall stress levels.


One of the biggest benefits of meditation is that it brings us into the present moment. We become more aware of our emotional intelligence and our surroundings, including the people we work with and the ideas they bring to the table. Meditation helps increase active listening and our empathy for people. For example in this Emory University study, researchers found that compassion-based meditation programs can significantly improve a person's ability to read the facial expressions of others, thus leading to stronger, more meaningful interpersonal relationships. Additionally, Stanford researchers have found that after a 9-week compassion cultivation training, individuals displayed significant improvements in three domains of compassion including: compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and most importantly, self-compassion.


One little, often overlooked benefit about meditation is that it can help boost your immune system. Meditation can keep you healthy, focused, and even reduce employee sick days. According to this Harvard Medical School study, your body produces less stress hormones like cortisol when you meditate, which often translates to a greater resilience to sickness and stress.


Meditation is not just a savvy strategy to accomplish more at work, as it can also help you enjoy your work and wellbeing more in all aspects of your life. Meditation has been found to make people happier by improving mood and psychological well-being according to the Nottingham Trent University, UK, because it alleviates stress and makes us enjoy the moment rather than worrying about the past or future. Meditation rewires the brain with increase optimism, which is helpful in difficult situations or withstanding the ups and downs of building a business.