Meditation the new caffeine
A lot of people, when they hit that afternoon energy slump, out of habit reach for a coffee, tea or even an energy drink. While you may get a buzz and fuel your caffeine addiction, it’s also good to consider that a standard coffee has 120mg of caffeine and half-life of 8 hours, which means you will still have half the caffeine in your system when trying to go to sleep that night. Also with your brain being over 80% fat and water, you need to be well hydrated for maximum cognitive processes, with caffeine being a diuretic, coffee further dehydrates you, impacting your conscious decision making. While you may get a quick buzz, your coffee will reduce your ability to stay focused and push through the afternoon. Excess caffeine can also lead to higher blood pressure and increase your stress hormone adrenaline.
A walk, a glass of cold water, a burst of exercise to get energised (like a quick game of table tennis), some natural sugars via an apple are all effective options to give you that extra energy for the afternoon. What if there was another simpler way to be more productive? More importantly, be able to focus your thoughts, develop more ideas, be more creativity, have greater problem solving skills and courage to tackle those tasks or conversations you’ve been avoiding. Recent research has labelled meditation the new caffeine and has shown that through a quick meditation you could be more focused and finish the day strongly. While a power nap may give you some extra energy, you can also get that just woken up in a daze feeling and be more tired than before.
I started meditating earlier this year and have been enjoying the relaxation, clarity and focus it’s provided. I was recommended using the Omvana App from Mind Valley and have found the free 6 Phase Meditation an ideal guided visualisation to focus the conscious, develop gratitude for the now and get clarity for future success. After recently watching the video below from Emily Fletcher, one of the world’s leading experts on meditation, I’ve also become more aware of the re-engergising benefits for individuals and teams. I’ve replaced my afternoon coffee with a peppermint tea and sometimes a quick meditation and now feel more focussed and more productive.
In the video below from a presentation Emily made at the Google offices earlier this year, she explains the differences between the two most popular styles of meditation, how they affect the brain differently and the impact of stress on performance. She also leads you through a simple breathing technique and guided visualisation that helps balance the right and left sides of the brain.
I encourage you to give it a try and see if your afternoons are more productive and if you’re sleeping better too from skipping that afternoon coffee!