Apple, Google, General Mills, AstraZeneca, Nike, AOL Time Warner, just to name a few, are among the many companies who know full well that stress is bad for business. It is extremely expensive to the balance sheet and bottom line. But no, it’s not as if employees are now wearing robes, sandals, sitting in a Lotus position, burning incense and chanting, “Ohmm”. Sure, that is the first image we think of when we hear the word meditation. And for years, this very image kept most Westerners in our culture away from meditation because, to them, mistakenly, it represented something mystical, or was something Hippies and Tibetan Monks did. But in the past decade, starting in Silicon Valley and now extending to thousands of companies of all sizes, making meditation a part of an employee’s day has become common practice and has shown measurable results.
The reason is more scientific than it is mystical. As Neuroscientists began to study the brain waves of meditators, they noticed that meditators shift their brain activity to different areas of the cortex. Brain waves in the stress-prone right frontal cortex begin to move to the left-frontal cortex which is calmer. Basically, people who begin to meditate become calmer and happier than they were before. And what CEO or Manager doesn’t want a calmer, happier, more fulfilled and focused workforce?
In an attempt to remove the stigma and misunderstanding of the word “Meditation”, companies are more inclined to use the word “Mindfulness”. And another term that has arisen is “Emotional Intelligence” or (EI). Either way, it’s not the word, but the impact upon people’s lives and the increase in productivity, along with the decrease in medical costs and employee absenteeism which caused them to hop on the bandwagon. It is no mystery that people are far more stressed out today than their parents’ generation. Longer working hours, increased workloads, social media and declining benefits have all added to the stresses on people’s minds. And stress causes health issues; mentally and physically. When all is said and done, stress costs companies a great deal of money.
But it goes beyond happier, calmer employees. It also makes their family life at home better. Let’s face it, when you are stressed out all day, you wind up bringing that stress home. Once home, your family becomes the unintended victim of your stress. As a result, they feel and become stressed themselves; creating a vicious cycle which goes on and on.
Meditation is a skill, and like any skill it must be practiced. Setting aside twenty minutes every day, and keeping at it day after day will absolutely result in improvements to your well-being. It changed my life. Now, it is the best part of my day. While there are no rules as to when you should meditate, I do it in the mornings so I can get a jump-start on my day.
There are two types of meditation. There is the “quieting your mind and focusing on your breath” approach, and then there is the “visualization and affirmation” approach. I do both. The quieting of the mind helps to put your focus in the present moment and stops you from thinking about your past and your future (Which is pretty much what people do in the mind– and it’s generally negative). The visualization and affirmation approach is where you can begin to learn what sub-conscious programming is interfering in your well-being and happiness and allows you to, instead, replace those old systems of thinking with new, positive systems. In essence, it helps you to become a new and better person whose life outwardly reflects one of peace, joy and health. After all, we are each the sum total of everything we believe about ourselves and the world around us. So if we do not like what we are thinking, and if what we are thinking is doing us harm, we can consciously choose to think new thoughts. Once those thoughts take hold, they can change our entire life for the better. The process of how this works and how it is done are the substance of my lectures. It’s one thing to meditate, but it is another to fully understand the mechanics behind it.
As an educator, I started teaching meditation to anyone who wanted to learn. I began a lecture series and can report to you that it has greatly helped many in countless ways. My students have reported increased happiness, calmness and well-being. And there’s a whole other fascinating side to all of this with incredible ramifications, but I’ll leave that for another time. And let’s not forget that the most successful people in the world all meditate. They attribute their great successes to meditation. If you would like to learn more, send me an e-mail or message me. Remember, you are what you think you are. If you change your thinking, you will change your life.
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