One of the most beneficial habits I have is my practice of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is a traditionally Buddhist practice, but I leverage it non-religiously. In its most basic form, mindfulness focuses on the breath, drawing mind and body together in the present moment. There are some cool perks; my focus and memory are better, and I can remember the page I left off on in a book even weeks after I last picked it up or pick out important implications of operating system design choices during class; if I focus, I can listen to my own heartbeat, even in a crowded room; I’m also free of bias, which frees my mind to reach deeper understanding of people and their unique perspectives. I can keep an index of my thoughts and identify which thoughts come up a lot, helping me understand their importance. I’m not a Boulder hippie, this shit is just useful.
Currently, the public opinion of meditation is similar to the public opinion about running 1950s—no one does it. There will have to be an event similar to the running boom of the 1970s to change people’s minds, but just like running, public opinion doesn’t make the activity any less awesome. The benefits far outweigh the cost of the 10 minutes you need to take out of your day to meditate. The returns you get in pure productivity compensate for the time you lose.
The final result from meditating is actually pretty basic. You live in the moment, constantly aware of your environment, body, and most importantly, thoughts.