Mindfulness Cuts Stress, Boosts Creativity
January 24, 2015
Practicing mindfulness improves attention and the ability to bounce back from stressful situations.
The desire to produce better outcomes and increase profits has led to a decrease in the use of thoughtful processes and procedures for making skillful decisions. Right now I bet you have a computer, smartphone, and iPad within arm's reach. Most people do. And, the misperception that you must multitask to work efficiently results in less productivity instead of more.
Since the economic downturn of 2009, employees continue to be asked to do more with less, and the fear of losing one's job has led to people working harder and longer, not smarter. The result is a workforce operating with a creativity deficit and an increase in physical, psychological, and cognitive burnout and breakdown.
Partial attention to many things at once results in mistakes, inefficiencies, and breakdowns in communication. Although you might feel like you're working at a breakneck speed, research reveals that we may be taking longer to do our work and doing it less well. Information overload has led to processing failures because of our mind's inability to manage it all.
What Does Mindfulness Meditation Do to Your Brain?
January 25, 2014
As you read this, wiggle your toes. Feel the way they push against your shoes, and the weight of your feet on the floor. Really think about what your feet feel like right now – their heaviness.
If you’ve never heard of mindfulness meditation, congratulations, you’ve just done a few moments of it. More people than ever are doing some form of this stress-busting meditation, and researchers are discovering it has some quite extraordinary effects on the brains of those who do it regularly.
Originally an ancient Buddhist meditation technique, in recent years mindfulness has evolved into a range of secular therapies and courses, most of them focused on being aware of the present moment and simply noticing feelings and thoughts as they come and go.
It’s been accepted as a useful therapy for anxiety and depression for around a decade, and mindfulness websites like GetSomeHeadSpace.com are attracting millions of subscribers. It’s being explored by schools, pro sports teams and military units to enhance performance, and is showing promise as a way of helping sufferers of chronic pain, addiction and tinnitus, too. There is even some evidence that mindfulness can help with the symptoms of certain physical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, and HIV. Yet until recently little was known about how a few hours of quiet reflection each week could lead to such an intriguing range of mental and physical effects. Now, as the popularity of mindfulness grows, brain imaging techniques are revealing that this ancient practice can profoundly change the way different regions of the brain communicate with each other – and therefore how we think – permanently.
Mindfulness, Meditation, Wellness and Their Connection to Corporate America's Bottom Line
January 26, 2015
On Tuesday I'll be guest-hosting CNBC's Squawk Box, a program that bills itself as the show that "brings Wall Street to Main Street." As well as discussing Cyprus and a possible eurocrisis, we are going to discuss the growing trend in corporate America of taking steps -- meditation, yoga, mindfulness trainings -- to reduce stress and improve health and
One of my guests will be Mark Bertolini, CEO of the third-largest health insurer in the country with 30,000 employees insuring 17 million people. In 2010, Aetna partnered with Duke University's School of Medicine and found that regular yoga substantially decreased stress levels and health care costs. Following this, Bertolini made yoga available to all Aetna
employees nationwide and has a much bigger mission: to make sure there is research available to facilitate private as well as state and federal coverage of yoga and mind-body therapies.
10 Big Companies That Promote Employee Meditation
January 26, 2015
Work can be a stressful place, and with companies trying to keep an eye on the bottom line while simultaneously improving productivity, many workers may find themselves with more responsibilities than ever before. While there is no way to totally eliminate stress from the workplace, some companies are doing what they can to help employees relax, and many, like those that we feature here, are doing that through on-site meditation.
Meditation has been shown to produce a wide range of mental benefits when practiced on a daily basis. Studies have shown that it can actually change how the brain processes information and manages the effects of stress, depression, and anxiety. Those who practice meditation, research has demonstrated, are happier and calmer than their counterparts who don’t, so it’s no surprise that many high-stress businesses are catching on and making meditation a part of their corporate mission. Read on to learn about some of the companies that are leading the way in promoting on-the-job meditation.
The Mind Business
August 24, 2012
Yoga, meditation, ‘mindfulness’ – why some of the west’s biggest companies are embracing eastern spirituality
General Mills, the company behind Cheerios cereal and Häagen-Dazs ice cream, is headquartered on a leafy expanse outside Minneapolis, Minnesota. Enclosed walkways connect a network of modernist buildings, protecting Midwestern workers from heat and humidity in the summer, and bitter cold and towering snowdrifts in the winter. Inside the halls, some 3,000 people work on everything from product development and marketing to litigation, regulation and mergers and acquisitions. The employee base is generally reflective of middle America – predominantly white, casually dressed and possessing a genial, if hard-working, disposition.
Yet there are signs that in some significant ways, General Mills has a distinctly unusual corporate culture. Open the right door on a Tuesday morning and you might find a few dozen team leaders and executives meditating silently together on cushions, steeling their minds for the work week ahead. Enter a conference room later that afternoon and witness more than 50 senior employees from across the organisation standing on one leg in the tree pose as they practice yoga. Note that in every building on the General Mills campus there is a meditation room, equipped with a few zafus – or cushions for sitting practice – and yoga mats where, day after day, employees duck in to grab a few minutes of equanimity in between their meetings. These are the most obvious signs that, as an organisation, General Mills has something resembling a collective spiritual life.
How Sound Wave Therapy & Mindfulness Benefit Corporate Productivity and Employee Wellness
January 26th 2015
What is Sound Wave Therapy?
Sound Wave Therapy, also referred to as Gong Therapy or Sound Healing has been around for thousands of years. Drums, rattles, shakers, gongs, seashells, and other instruments date back to more than 5000 years old. These instruments have been closely related to balance, health, and wellbeingness in almost every culture throughout evolution. While there is no basis of religion at Soundshala, the sounds created are often reminiscent of sounds heard in churches, mosques, cathedrals, synagogues and shamanistic rituals. The resonant tones we create belong to a category of sacred sounds that have effectiveness to unlock a part of the mind that is so often holding on too tight. It is through these vibrational sounds where we find a key to unlocking ourselves from the ill effects or disease of an overactive or monkey mind.
There are are countless benefits to employee productivity, happiness, and health when integrated to a company’s wellness plan for its employees. This results in a more efficient workplace and a more productive company. Scientific studies have shown that human brains function under different types of brain waves at certain times and stresses throughout the day. We spend much of the day in the beta wave state. When we can slow our brain waves down into the Theta or Delta states, there is increase of certain hormone production and the results can lead to improved memory, more energy, reduction of stress among many other beneficial factors.
Research has shown that certain musical instruments like gongs, crystal bowls, and specialized drums carry the mind into these slower brain waves.The distinctive state produced during the practice of meditation is characterized by deep physiologic rest which means a marked decrease in respiration and an increase in mental alertness. This super-relaxed state has been shown to enrich the other states of consciousness making the waking state more alert and dynamic which is correlated with enhanced concept learning, creativity and moral reasoning.
Here at Soundshala we offer a musical relaxation experience where we aim for you to find the art of relaxation to help a busy mind and also a company’s bottom line.
How Can Your Business Benefit?
According to a recent study on worksite wellness programs, corporations
that included a wellness program for their employees realized a $3-6
savings in every $1 invested in some sort of wellness program. This being
said, the importance of emotional well-being in the workplace is not
something that can be overlooked in today’s society. The cost of stress in
today’s society is at an overwhelming high of $300 billion a year. US
employers are said to now spend 200-300% more for the indirect costs of
health care (absenteeism, sick days and lower productivity). The bottom
line is, what is good for your employees as individuals is also good for
Sound Wave Therapy and Gong Therapy is the prelude to mindfulness,
which is an antidote to stress. Mindfulness can reduce the impact of modern stressors and increase our ability to be productive, creative, happy and healthy by turning our minds to pay attention to the present. Paying attention to the present will keep your employees running a tight ship, keeping everyone on their A-game and lessening the chances for mistakes and broadening the opportunities for new ideas.
Companies that have offered wellness packages with their employees that
include yoga and mediation have seen dramatic increases in the following:
Help employees to combat work related stress
Improved employee productivity
Increased employee creativity
Improved teamwork Increased energy for more efficient productivity Improved attitudes for better problem solving
Decreased anxiety Increased clarity
Reduced muscle tension and pain
These benefits speak for themselves. If your employees are happy and healthy the work that they produce is going to be produced in a more timely and efficient manor with less error and more enthusiasm!
Who Else is Doing It?
Many companies have begun to realize the benefits of meditation and yoga
in the workplace. Other big name companies like Apple, Google, IBM and
General Mills have all slowly been incorporating wellness programs similar
to ours to benefit their employees and have seen dramatic increases in
Take for example General Mills who has implemented a meditation program for their employees that occurs every week. After just a few months the company reported that:
83% of participants say they were “taking time each day to optimize my personal productivity”
80% of participants say that they are able to “make better decisions”
89% “became better listeners”
Let us also take a look at Google who offers mindfulness and meditation classes to their employees under the title “Search Inside Yourself”. These classes work on developing workers emotional intelligence, focused on mindful breathing and listening techniques that offer personal benefits for the employees but basically have an eye for improving the company’s bottom line. Google has also created meditation spaces around their campuses. One of the search giants' original employees, a software engineer named Chade-Meng Tan speaks on behalf of Google saying “Today, it’s taken for granted by everyone, at least in Silicon Valley (in reference to the meditation classes) similarly, one day, there will be a company that will demonstrate that having employees practice deep mindfulness and compassion is very good for business and eventually, it will be taken for granted everywhere. I hope that company is Google.”
Another great example is a chemical manufacturing company for the large
US automobile industry that has recently incorporated a meditation program for their employees. This company had survived four years of flat sales and declining profits when a new CEO offered what he called a “Transcendental Meditation program”. 56 of the 70 employees participated in this program and in the following four years with no new people or no new equipment productivity increased a whopping 52% and annual sales per employee increased 88% from $133,000 to $250,000 with 80-95% of the sales representing new customer accounts. Additionally the number of work days lost to poor health or injuries declined from 70 days per employee to less than 25 days and absenteeism declined 89%. The CEO attributed all these positives to the employees new ideas, energy and effectiveness that arose from more POSITIVE ATTITUDES which lead to a more HARMONIOUS WORK CLIMATE.
In the corporate world, we are often driven to work harder and longer, with
more billable hours. We have clients and co-workers who consistently
demand a lot of our attention. How can we slow slow slow if we are always
on the go go go? The corporate world has not typically been in alignment
with the concepts of slowing down, mindfulness, and meditation as this has
been viewed as counterintuitive to profitability. However, studies have
shown that wellness programs have had a remarkable effect on employee’s
levels of health and happiness. These are so closely related to productivity
and efficiency that many companies have realized that implementing a
wellness plan for its employees may be one of the most effective strategies
for improving the bottom line.
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