Can You Meditate Whilst Multitasking?

In a world where time is the most precious commodity, it can be difficult to find some time to brush our teeth’s in the morning let alone finding the time to commit to a 10-minute meditation routine. Today I wanted to look at meditation in a time-crunched manner. I know I know, this is meditation we are talking about, it seems very redundant to try and cram it in somewhere. So I wanted to look at meditation as a potential act we can do whilst multitasking. I wanted to look at what the minimum amount of meditation you need in order to reap and feel the benefits of this magical beast. Is it a case of somethings better than nothing, or do we need to sit down and dedicate some time to it?

According to Dr Elise Bialylew founder of Mindful in May after researching the matter found that “just 10 minutes a day of mindfulness meditation over one month was enough to support more positive emotions, reduce stress, increase self-compassion and strengthen focus in daily life” (Bialylew. 2018) 

Dr Elise Bialylew goes on to cite research conducted by Richie Davidson, he concluded from his study of regular mindfulness practices that electrical brain activity shifts from one side of the brain to the other. This positive move pushes electrical brain activity to the left side of the brain, the left side of the brain is responsible for a positive and resilient attitude towards life.

According to Headspace to reap the benefits of meditation consistency is key, this doesn’t mean meditating every single day, which is great news for the time stricken individuals, but rather research shows meditating around 3 times a week for 10-20 minutes will do it.

Nate Klemp co-founder of Life Cross Training suggests the reason why we think we have to meditate for hours on end to reap the benefits is due to early research which was based on people with over 19,000 hours of experience meditating over six and a half years. Klemp goes on to cite a couple of studies by Mass General and Yale University, these studies showed small dose meditation enhanced cognitive performance. This type of meditation can be referred to as micro-dosing meditation.

So, we have had a look at some research which states small amounts of meditation still enable you to reap the benefits of meditation, but what about practising meditation whilst multitasking? Peter Bregman CEO of Bregman Partners suggests we shouldn’t be multitasking at all, he points out a study which states people who are distracted by things like emails or their phones saw a significant drop in their IQ of 10 points, which is the equivalent of “losing a night of sleep. More than twice the effect of smoking marijuana” (Bregman. 2009). He goes on further to make an interesting point when we are multitasking we are tricking ourselves into thinking we are getting a tone of work or tasks done when in reality we are rapidly switching from one task to other, interrupting the flow and wasting up to 40% of our productivity by doing so. 

 Guy Winch Ph.D. writing for Psychology Today pointed out the harm multitasking does to our brains, stating people who multitask had a reduction in grey matter, particularly with regards to cognitive function, emotions and motivation. Seems like multitasking has the opposite effect on the brain to meditation. Multitasking, he goes on to state can also increase chronic stress levels, depression and social anxiety. 

It would seem meditation has plenty of positivities and is something we should be including into our busy schedules, the good news is this doesn’t need to be every day, 3 times a week is a great starting point, what’s more, these sessions don’t need to last all day, a regular practice of 10 minutes is enough to start the changes in the brain which help the participant acquire the many benefits of meditation. 

What I wouldn’t do is start to a meditation session whilst I was in the middle of something, I know you’re unlikely to start a practice whilst in the middle of chopping up vegetables, but the mood may strike whilst in the middle of an important task. Instead, I would set aside 10 minutes in the morning when there are least distractions to meditate, or if your tea is in the oven and you have no distractions in your vicinity then sit down for a quick practice.

So, all in all, create a space in your calendar for some high-quality meditation, this can be as little as 10 minutes, three times a week, just ensure your meditation time is free from immediate distractions.

Do you currently practice meditation? If so how long for? What do you think of the benefits? If not, is this something you would like to start? Please comment below and lets get chatting!

Have a great day! I hope you are able to implement a little bit of meditation into your life! xxx

References:

Bialylew, E. (2018) How Long Do You Need To Meditate To Feel The Benefits. Online at https://thriveglobal.com/stories/meditate-to-feel-the-benefits/ [Accessed: 1 September 2020]  

Bregman, P. (2009) How-and why-to stop multitasking. Online at https://www.thresholds.co.uk/sites/default/files/inline-files/How_and_why_to_stop_multitasking.pdf [Accessed: 2 September 2020]

Headspace (N.D) According To Research, How Long Will It Take To Experience The Benefits. Online at https://help.headspace.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000211507-According-to-the-research-how-long-will-it-take-to-experience-the-benefits-  [Accessed: 1 September 2020]  

Klemp, N. (2019) How To Micro-Dose Meditation For Maximum Productivity. Online at https://www.inc.com/nate-klemp/think-you-dont-have-time-to-meditate-science-shows-that-even-a-few-minutes-can-boost-your-productivity.html [Accessed: 1 September 2020]

Published by empowerviahealth

I believe in the empowerment of women through looking after the mind, body, and spirit. I am an advocate for pushing equality, women's rights, and choice for all women! Together we are stronger, together we can change the world!

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