Mindfulness Meditation for Multitaskers

Multitasking can seem like a necessary evil for many people. But can mindfulness meditation ease its stressful effects?

A group of researchers at the University of Washington say yes.

David Levy, PhD and his colleagues wanted to see how meditation training would affect the multitasking behavior of office workers, so they tested three groups of 12-15 human resources professionals.
Mindfulness and multitasking

One group received an 8-week training course on mindfulness meditation while another group took an 8-week training course on body relaxation. A third group made up the waitlist control.

Each training group received pre- and post-training multitasking tests, followed by a 12-question survey that gauged their memory of the tasks involved in the tests.

The groups also received the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), a self-assessment by each participant of his or her ability to stay attentive to the present moment.

Levy and his colleagues gathered results in four main areas: participants’ multitasking performance, their memory of the tasks performed, their self-reported emotional state, and their self-reported mindful awareness.

Sure enough, it was the participants in the meditation group who garnered the most positive outcomes in all four areas.

Compared with their pre-training results, the group trained to meditate spent more time focused on a given task and switched their attention to other tasks less often. And although all of the groups found the test stressful, only the meditation group showed less of a drop in mood – despite feeling stressed – and had a sharper memory of the tasks performed.

What’s more, the waitlist group eventually received the same 8-week training course on mindfulness-based meditation, and showed nearly identical results to the mindfulness group post-training.

The relaxation group, on the other hand, experienced no change in focus after training, but did show an improvement in their memory of the tasks they performed.

We do want to be cautious of overlooking one thing that may have affected the outcome of this study – participants were recruited from two different cities, which prevented a fully randomized assignment to groups.

Still, these findings are promising, as they suggest that mindfulness works – particularly on the job.

Results like these show that mindfulness can be a viable and natural way to reduce our stress and stabilize our mood, even as we navigate demanding schedules and seemingly limitless workloads.

For more, you can read the full study – it was published in Graphics Interface in May 2012.

Mindfulness can work for many different problems and in many different settings – learn more about how by clicking here.

Have you ever introduced mindfulness to one of your stressed or busy clients? Please share your experience in the comments.

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3 Comments

  1. Saher says:

    This reminds me of when I styaed a couple nights with my penpal Doris in Germany. She had about 20 birds in a huge cage and I never knew what birdsong really was until those 2 mornings boy those little critters are glad to be alive in the a. of. m. And get you up and out of bed early! Their singing was absolutley joyful.xoox[]

  2. Marty says:

    mindfulness or awareness practice, as you can see, is the opposite of multi tasking. Most multi tasking cuts efficiency down by a third. being mindful is being present, aware not juggling three Ot even two cognitive tasks.

    We have to multitask at work at times but on our own awareness leads to happiness.

    Multitasking does Not lead to joy or happiness.

    mindfulness is one practice that can lead to joy and happiness. Cognitive dissection of life or cognitive thinking does not lead to happiness for me. Nothing is permanent about achievement, house, career, power, possessions can be a handicap finding happiness.

    What or where is happiness? Not in what we do for a living Or in the intellect.

    Filthy rich athletes commit suicide. Attaining something valuable present us with the issue of guarding or protecting things.

    We are not what we do or what people say about us, or even our thoughts. Our true self is a million miles away from these things.

    What desire that we fulfill lasts? Food or sex lasts only hours at the most. Where is happiness, the lack of mental disorders,. No

    In the small moments when we are without thought when bursts of joy explode for us.

    • Josua says:

      ane ban. umbalata theern nadda me paparasiya boru karanne kiyala. oya conseversation eka gothapu ekak. papa hari news daapan boru karan nathuwa. ubath hariyata lankawe JATHIKA thalaye madya wage, dan dan boruma thamai kiyanne.

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