Recently, a research study and subsequent article in The New York Times received wide notice for the suggestion that meditation may decrease motivation at work. Please refer to this article titled “Don’t Buy Into the Backlash—The Science of Meditation is Clear,” written last week by SIYLI board members Richie Davidson and Arianna Huffington, which addresses and refutes the claim from The New York Times article directly with a wide set of research-based findings to the contrary.
Quick summary: Though The The New York Times article suggested that the effects of mindfulness meditation may decrease motivation and “seem counterproductive in a workplace setting,” the study was based on a single, eight- or 15-minute meditation session completed by participants.
As Davidson and Huffington point out, it is impossible to draw broad generalizable conclusions about the effectiveness of mediation in the workplace based on a small sample with one-time and short-duration observation. Davidson and Huffington refer to over 4,000 studies reviewed by researchers Lyddy and Good, as well as Davidson and Goleman’s own review of over 6,000 research studies, to conclude that “the science of mediation is clear.” Perhaps more definitively, they conclude (specifically with regard to longer-term studies of approximately eight weeks or more), “studies have been clear, unambiguous and nearly universal in showing a host of benefits (of meditation), all of which are valuable in the workplace.”