Live in NYC? Freelancers Union is hosting a series of meditation, yoga, and creativity workshops starting this week. Check out our full roster of events. We even have FREE meditation events, open to all of our members. Not a meditator? Read on, you may decide to try it.
News flash: meditation is good for you. In case you’ve missed the hundreds of case studies, reports, and articles released over the last couple decades, meditation makes you smarter, more creative, more focused, and even less sweaty. It’s being brought into elementary schools, recommended more by doctors, and even being implemented by the Marine Corps.
Meditation is beneficial no matter what kind of work you do, but we would argue it’s even more important for freelancers. Why? You may need to meditate when:
**You feel like choking your client. **Thanks to our friends at Clients from Hell, we already have a fantastic outlet for our frustrations. For a longer-term fix, you may need to develop a little bit of patience.
Experts say meditation helps lengthen your fuse so it takes longer to explode. With meditation you may not achieve Zen-level acceptance of all your clients, but you can at least stop before you hurt your relationships with a passive aggressive email or biting remark.
You get hopeless. According to Sara Horowitz, “You work with coal miners and you learn everything there is about black lung. You work with freelancers and you learn about depression."
Research shows that just sitting down in a quiet place, following your breath for 20 minutes a day can be as effective in treating mild to moderate depression as prescription drugs.
**You get scattered. **Working on many things at once is a basic fact of the freelance life: If you’re juggling tasks and determining priorities – from following up on late invoice payments to brainstorming ideas for a new client – you’re using a part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex, responsible for complex cognitive processes that allow us to “form and hold coherent thoughts” even in the midst of stress and distraction.
Unfortunately, it thins over time. But people who meditate for a long time don’t show a decline, and regular meditators show increased activity in that area that continues even when they’re not meditating.
**You get stuck in a creative rut. **If you can’t figure out how to make a project work and all your ideas seem to reek of cliché and repetition, maybe it’s time to stop trying so hard.
Creativity comes when you let go and don’t force it (which is why you get ideas in the shower). Regular meditation stimulates greater Alpha and Theta activity in the brain, associated with creativity.
All in all, meditation is probably the quickest, least painful thing you can do to make yourself a better freelancer. It might be worth a try.
If you live near NYC and don’t want to try it alone, come to one of our free meditation events.