Tips for a better workday: exercise, meditation, aeration

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If you organize your work day and environment smartly, you can work better, remember new information better and feel satisfied at work.

Three case studies offer tips for an enjoyable and productive work life – with fewer errors.

Accordingly, exercise, meditation, and good air quality are essential for concentration, memory, and good productivity.

People do well when they are not stubborn in doing their jobs. Focus and focus are important – and so are the pleasant breaks. In three studies, scientists cited factors that increase performance and satisfaction. The common denominator between them is that employees must also be given space to use their skills.

Three current findings from the job search:

1. Movement improves memory

Even light yoga or tai chi can help people remember things better, according to a report by a large research team led by neuroscientist and behavioral scientist Michael Yasa of the University of California, Irvine, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This was examined in a study with 36 test participants.

Participants were asked to do ten minutes of yoga or tai chi, after which their brains were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Brain activity can be made visible with this device. In the images, the neuroscientists found clear indications that the participants’ memory had improved. According to Yes, it was remarkable that not only did memory improve in the long term and mainly, as previous studies had already shown. The effect was also evident immediately after one activity. “Even short breaks for a walk can have a significant impact on how memory and cognition improve,” Yasi was quoted as saying in a university press release.

We learn from this for everyday work: Light movement helps when learning or when we are faced with important facts. A short walk before an important meeting may be a job boost.

2. Meditation prevents mistakes

Even a solo meditation helps to recognize errors better. Scientists from Michigan State University noted this. Psychologist Jeff Lane and his research team meditated on 212 people for 20 minutes. None of the participants had ever meditated before. The researchers used a form of meditation based on open observation of what is going on in the body and mind. This distinguishes them from forms in which meditators count breaths or move a prayer string through their fingers, for example.

Lin says in a statement from his university that open meditation allows people to interact with their inner being so that they are aware of what is going on inside of them. “The point is to sit quietly and pay attention to where your thoughts are going without letting them consume you.”

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In the experiment, participants took part in a guided meditation, during which brain activity was measured using an electroencephalogram (EEG). Then they completed a test using distractions to elicit errors. The EEG showed that the subjects reacted more strongly to errors. “It’s amazing to see what just one session of targeted mediation changes in people,” Lin said when the research was published in the journal Brain Sciences. We learn from this for action: Meditation makes people more aware of their mistakes. This can be a useful skill, especially during times of work at home, especially when children also provide a distraction at home.

3. Good air quality increases cognitive ability and productivity

Fine dust and high CO2 values ​​make you stupid. Scientists noted this in a study. For a year, they monitored teams in six countries, including engineering and architecture offices, and real estate and technology groups. When the air quality was poor, people reacted slower, had difficulty concentrating and were less productive. The team, led by Harvard University’s Joseph Allen, published the findings in Environmental Research Letters.

For their study, the researchers placed environmental sensors in the workplaces of 300 people. Participants were asked to take the tests at specific times and when the air quality had fallen below a certain limit. When the air quality was poor, the test subjects slowed down, while the number of errors increased at the same time.

From this study we learn how important it is to provide fresh air in offices. Just opening the window in the big city may not be enough, because even minute dust levels affect performance. If you want to create good working conditions, you will have to find ways to design the workplace in such a way that the air is clean.

This article first appeared on Business Insider in November 2021.

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