Nikki Prentice, an assistant general counsel at Blake Dawson’s Sydney office, participated in a voluntary five-session introductory meditation course offered by her firm in 2009 and can now achieve sharper and longer periods of concentration. “I’m better at recognising and letting go of distracting thoughts and am better at prioritising the task at hand,” she says. “I can focus on research or drafting for longer periods before feeling the need to check my email.”

Restraining from that oh-so-addictive constant email checking syndrome? And being on the ball for longer periods at work thanks to meditation, rather than thanks to a mid-afternoon sugar hit or caffeine high? Plenty of us, it seems, could do with a bit of help on that front. A worthwhile outcome for a few sessions of learning to breathe in a more relaxed manner and sitting still for 40 minutes or so.

Prentice was as surprised as anyone that meditation has helped her to beef up her mental stamina.
She knew that meditation could come in handy for unwinding and destressing, but to find that meditation is also helping her to achieve her goals in such a tangible way has been an added bonus.

Prentice was no meditator before her course. In fact, she had only had “a very basic taste of meditation” courtesy of yoga classes before embarking on the introductory course. Instead of finding it a drag and becoming annoyed at having to squeeze it into a crammed appointment schedule, she found the sessions an enjoyable respite from the working day. Yet she is quick to add that getting the mind 100 per cent sharp by meditating is an elusive concept. “It would take a lot of practise to experience mental silence,” she concedes. Still, for her, there’s no doubt the meditation course has given her a desirable skill for her career toolkit: a better ability to focus.

Herald Sun, March 14, 2010