From boosting our hearts and minds to fighting addiction and stress, meditation can truly transform our lives. Transcendental Meditation, one of the more popular forms of meditation, has been praised in boardrooms and box offices as an effective method of cultivating some inner calm. The practice involves sitting comfortably for several minutes and repeating a mantra. TM has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and even increase work efficiency. For more evidence of why you should pick up meditation, take a look at the infographic below. Your body and brain will thank you for it.
It’s no secret that meditation is good for you.
Business Insider’s Kevin Loria recently laid out the plethora of research-backed benefits that meditation offers, including its ability to help us deal with stress, improve memory, and even boost our immune systems.
Those are just a few reasons the 10-person team at Soma, a San Francisco-based company that produces an eco-friendly water filtration system, sits silently in a circle together every morning for 15 minutes.
“After a quick team huddle on our priorities, we meditate to relax our minds, get focused, and share in a communal activity,” says Mike Del Ponte, cofounder and chief hydration officer of Soma . “Everyone is welcome to meditate however they like. Most focus on their breath and calming their minds.”
Del Ponte says most of Soma’s employees had never meditated before joining the company. “Coincidentally, they are usually the ones who enjoy it the most,” he explains. “We create an environment that is comfortable and open. No one feels pressured or intimidated.”
And as it turns out, meditation isn’t just good for his employees’ health. It’s good for business.
“Our daily meditation has had an impact on each teammate individually, as well as our culture as a whole,” Del Ponte says. “For individuals, meditation increases focus, decreases stress, and helps us to be more creative. As a company, it sets the tone for the vibe we want to have in the office: relaxed, thoughtful, and focused on health.”
Here are four tips for incorporating meditation into you workplace:
1. Make it a daily ritual, not something that’s “nice to have.”
“It’s more important to do it briefly each day than to try and have long sessions,” Del Ponte says. Ten to 15 minutes is short enough to be accessible to everyone, but long enough to have a meaningful effect.
2. Make it comfortable for everyone.
Let employees sit how they want and do whatever they choose with the available time. “If it seems too strict or weird, it will turn people off.”
3. Make it fun.
“At the end of each session, we say ‘Somaste’ (instead of Namaste) to remind ourselves not to take things too seriously,” he says. “We also have a Tibetan singing bell that sometimes sounds beautiful and sometimes sounds so awkward that we all laugh.”
4. Ask someone to take the lead.
“There’s usually one person in the company that is really passionate about meditation,” Del Ponte explains. “Ask that person to be accountable for meditation happening every day.”
by Andrew Hafenbrack and Zoe Kinias
Practice more than just a passing management fad as it can play role in decision-making and bring changes to emotions and behaviour
Mindfulness meditation is a practice that cultivates awareness of the present moment and clears the mind of other thoughts, often accomplished by non-judgmentally focusing attention on the physical sensations of breathing or other experience as it occurs.
Top-level managers appear to be highly interested in mindfulness at the moment, as evidenced by recent sessions on meditation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and a cover story about mindfulness in Time magazine.
Chief executives of major companies such as Ford Motor, Salesforce.com and Tupperware have publicly touted the benefits of meditation. Organisations as varied as Google and the United States military have instituted internal mindfulness-based training programmes for their employees.
Meditation … reduced negative emotion [and] facilitated [the] ability to let go of sunk costs
At Insead – in Singapore and abroad – professors incorporate meditation into executive and MBA courses.
Although there is a risk that some may write off mindfulness as pop psychology or a management fad, it is more than that.
The practice dates back more than 2,000 years to the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism, and Western clinical psychologists have used secular mindfulness meditation training to effectively combat anxiety and depression for several decades.
There are many articles in academic journals, particularly in the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience, that document the benefits of meditation.
Meditating regularly increases how much people habitually focus on the present moment relative to the past and future at times when they are not meditating, a tendency psychologists call trait mindfulness.
Research has linked increased trait mindfulness to increased positive emotions and decreases in several forms of negative emotion, such as rumination, depression, anxiety and anger.
Previous research has also found evidence of other benefits, linking greater trait mindfulness to decreased substance abuse, improved psychological functioning, increased self-control, decreased overconfident gambling, decreased distraction from the task at hand and improved test performance.
Recent research has also found that even a single eight to 15-minute session of focused-breathing mindfulness meditation can cue a brief state of mindfulness, which leads to changes in emotions and behaviour immediately afterwards.
For example, a state of mindfulness has been found to reduce short-term negative emotions, distraction from the task at hand and the impact of negative information on attitudes and persistence.
In other words, we were interested in whether mindfulness meditation could reduce what economists call the sunk-cost fallacy or the sunk-cost bias, which is the tendency to continue an endeavour after having already invested time, effort or money.
We collaborated with Professor Sigal Barsade from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania on a research article that appeared in the February issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Our key finding is that mindfulness meditation increased resistance to the sunk-cost bias, and this occurred in a two-step process.
First, meditation reduced how much people focused on the past and future, and this psychological shift led to less negative emotion. The reduced negative emotion then facilitated their ability to let go of sunk costs.
Our findings can help managers and businesspeople, because there are so many cases in which the sunk-cost bias can destroy value.
For example, people often hold on to losing investments for too long. Businesses often continue with projects even when the costs increase dramatically or their product is less unique or marketable than it initially appeared.
Governments often continue fighting wars they know they cannot win. Managers can be reluctant to fire massively underperforming employees who they hired with great expectations.
In all of these cases, resources are wasted that could have been used more productively in another endeavour, whether that is a more promising investment or project, peacekeeping efforts, or a new hire who is a better fit for the organisation.
Our advice is that when people need to make decisions about whether to change course, that is a great moment to step back, clear one’s mind by meditating, and approach the decision again.
A potentially helpful question to ask oneself is: “Would I continue this endeavour because I truly think it is the best decision in light of all available evidence or because I am reluctant to let go after having invested so much?” As to how to briefly meditate, there are many excellent free recorded meditations available online, such as those from freemindfulness.org
There are also meditation classes and trainers in all major cities and excellent books on the subject by Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
More broadly, our findings suggest that even people with little experience meditating can use mindfulness meditation in small doses at times when they need it, such as when experiencing excessive negative emotions or stress, or when thinking too much about the past or future.
For these reasons, mindfulness should be more than a passing fad, and instead a tool people keep at their disposal for use when it can be helpful.
People and corporations should seriously consider the role mindfulness meditation can play in mental and emotional well-being, task performance and decision-making.
Andrew Hafenbrack is a doctoral candidate in organisational behaviour and Zoe Kinias an assistant professor of organisational behaviour at Insead.
Book a moment for mindfulness for one minute a day.
In an age when we’re constantly being distracted, being able to focus is the golden goose.
We may thank technology platforms like Twitter and Facebook for shrinking our attention spans down to nanoseconds, but the executives of those selfsame companies know that to grow their businesses, they need to put a priority on focus.
At the Wisdom 2.0 conference being hosted in San Francisco next month, a group of tech heavyweights will come together with yoga practitioners, mindfulness specialists and even a Benedictine monk to learn how to work and live within the demands of technology more effectively.
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and Huffington Post CEO Arianna Huffington are on the roster of speakers along with top executives from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram and LinkedIn. Also on the 2014 speaker rundown is Eckhart Tolle, the spiritual teacher and author of New York Times best seller The Power of Now.
The annual conference, which attracted 350 attendees when it was first held five years ago, is expected to attract 2,000 attendees this year. The conference runs February 14 through 17 and tickets range from $500 to $1,500 depending on how early you reserve a spot.
The growing interest in the conference mirrors a growing trend in our relationship with technology: As we become increasingly dependent on mobile devices and social networks, we struggle to not feel controlled by them. These questions and struggles pervade both our personal and professional lives, but business leaders and executives at the Wisdom 2.0 conference will specifically address how to perform more efficiently in the workplace.
For example, last year, Gopi Kallayil, the chief evangelist for Google+, talked about how to integrate the fundamentals of a yoga-practice to be a more productive professional. Kallayil, who was born in India and grew up practicing yoga, has five fundamental rituals that he implements in every single day: focus on the essential, do one thing at a time, take time to listen to your own body’s needs, make at least one minute for mindfulness each day and set appointments for the activities that will help you stay mindful.
The “Think Clearly” Pledge From Linked In Influencer Bruce Kasanoff
Yesterday I skied 10″ of fresh powder in Vermont, and as I neared my house at the end of the day, I simply took off my skis and lay down in the snow. After about 20 minutes of doing nothing but let snowflakes fall on my face, an idea occurred to me and I took this photo.
Here’s the idea: every day in 2014, I’m going to take at least 10 minutes to do what I did yesterday: stop, empty my mind, and do nothing at all.
In return, I hope to think more clearly the rest of the time.
Over the years, I’ve meditated off and on, and have often exercised or simply walked to clear my head. I’ve also observed that my best professional ideas come in the days right after a vacation. But I’ve never pledged to spend ten minutes in silent inaction every single day for a year.
I ask you this in the spirit of enlightened self-interest. The more people who take the pledge with me, the more likely I am to abide by it. But also the more people who abide by the pledge, the more people it will help.
Look around you, and you will see countless people who live in a fog. They don’t listen to what you say, they don’t understand what others are trying to communicate to them, and they don’t understand reality; instead, they operate within their own distorted sense of reality. As a result, they make a lot of bad decisions, and they miss numerous opportunities.
Here’s the really bad news: the same is true for you and me. We live in a fog, too.
Truth is, I’m not sure that ten minutes a day is enough to free either one of us from the fog, but this is a step in the right direction, and it is a modest enough commitment that – with the help of others – we can actually stick to it for this entire year.
To help both of us stick to the Pledge, I just created the Think Clearly group on LinkedIn. If you are taking the Pledge, please join the group.
Update, 3:45 p.m. Friday: Went back to the same spot today. This is the view. The temperature outside was -7 fahrenheit, but I still enjoyed the break. 425 people have already joined me to take the Pledge…
London hospital promotes mediation as tension management tool
A new project by the Medical Mediation Foundation, aimed at breaking down tension between family members and health professionals when there is a disagreement about a child’s course of treatment, is in full swing at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, The Guardian reported.
Noting the importance of communication between caregivers to a child’s recovery, the Evalina Resolution Project offers mediation at the request of parents or staff members, and trains hospital personnel in stress management techniques. It also teaches staff how to recognize triggers for conflict and ways to rebuild trust when a situation deteriorates, the article states.
More than 90 staff nurses have completed training sessions, with doctors set to begin training this month. The sessions help staff think about issues from the parents’ perspective and reflect on how their actions impact them, according to the article.
The program is especially helpful for staff who interact with parents of children in the hospital for long-term care, because they become experts in their children’s condition and “their threshold is lowered for what they’re prepared to tolerate from health professionals,” Medical Mediation Foundation Director Sarah Barclay, who set up the project, told The Guardian.
Mediation isn’t the only approach hospitals take to help personnel manage difficult situations and stress.
Cleveland Clinic in Ohio offers “Code Lavender,” a holistic care rapid response to clinicians in need. Within 30 minutes of hearing the code, a team of holistic nurses arrive to give Reiki, massages, healthy snacks, water and a lavender armband to remind the doctor or nurse to take it easy the rest of the day, FierceHealthcare previously reported.
In addition, an Aetna study found insurers can save money if their members participate in a mind-body stress reduction program, according to FierceHealthcare.
To learn more:
– here’s the article
Hospitals try holistic approach to treat docs’ stress, burnout
How mind-body programs reduce stress, healthcare costs
Hospitals offering alternative medicine tripled, based on patient demand
Trend: More physicians offer alternative medicine
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It’s a practice rooted in Hinduism and adopted by beatniks seeking spiritual guidance. Now evidence shows meditation can improve business decisions and save your company from expensive investment mistakes.
By Zoe Kinias, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Andrew Hafenbrack, INSEAD PhD student in Organisational Behaviour with Jane Williams, Editor, Knowledge Arabia
Meditation has become an increasingly popular practice amongst the C-suite elite. And, with CEOs such as Rupert Murdoch (News Corp NWSA -3.04%); Bill Ford (Ford Motor F +0.47% Company); Rick Goings (Tupperware); and Marc Benioff (Salesforce.com CRM +1.62%) all touting its benefits, executive coaches are picking up on the trend introducing mindful techniques to programmes to calm the mind’s “chatter,” assist focus and manage stress. But new empirical evidence suggests it’s more than just a “feel good” exercise, and as little as 15 minutes of meditation can actually help people make better, more profitable decisions, by increasing resistance to the “sunk cost bias.”
The sunk cost bias–also known as the sunk cost fallacy, or the sunk cost effect–is recognized as one of the most destructive cognitive biases affecting organisations today. Put simply, it’s the tendency to continue an endeavor once an investment has been made in an attempt to recoup or justify “sunk” irrecoverable costs. The phenomenon is not new; psychological scientists have been studying the “escalation of commitment” since the mid-1970s, noting its ability to distort rational thought and skew effective decision-making. Often, it’s a subconscious action, which can result in millions of dollars being invested into a project, not because it’s a sound investment but because millions of dollars have already been spent.
Avoiding the trap
But it’s a mind trap you can avoid as suggested by the paper Debiasing the Mind Through Meditation: Mindfulness and the Sunk Cost Bias byAndrew Hafenbrack, INSEAD PhD student in Organisational Behaviour,Zoe Kinias, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour andSigal Barsade, the Joseph Frank Bernstein Professor of Management at The Wharton School. Their research shows just 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation– such as concentrating on breathing or doing a body scan–helps raise resistance to this problematic decision process, and open the way to more rational thinking.
“Prior research shows the more we invest in something (financially, emotionally, or otherwise), the harder it is to give up that investment and the more inclined we are to escalate a commitment,” Hafenbrack notes. “In many cases negative emotions; fear, anxiety, regret, even guilt or worry over past decisions, subconsciously play a part in the decision-making process.”
Most noted examples include the U.S. military campaigns in Vietnam in the 1960s, and more recently in the Middle East, when mounting casualties made it increasingly difficult for the U.S. government to withdraw. On the business front, companies regularly fall victim to the bias when faced with decisions on whether to pump money into a product after being scooped by a competitor, or to continue an investment as costs skyrocket beyond initial estimates. Sometimes, it’s a matter of a product just not selling as well as expected, as was the case with the Concorde supersonic jet when France and Britain continued their investment long after it was known the aircraft was going to be unprofitable.
The sunk cost bias can also be exacerbated by anticipated regret, the result of thinking too much about what may, or may not, occur in the future.
It is the result, says Kinias, of both emotional and temporal processes. MRI brain scans show the mind’s natural state constantly jumps around, flicking between ideas, switching from the past to the future to the present in seconds. Through a series of studies, Hafenbrack, Kinias and Barsade hypothesised, and found that mindfulness meditation, by focusing on the present, quiets this mind-wandering process, diminishing the negative feelings that distort thinking, thereby boosting resistance to the sunk cost bias.
They began the research with a correlational study demonstrating the link between trait mindfulness and an individual’s ability to resist sunk costs. As people vary in how mindful they are by disposition, volunteers were first assessed for this trait. They were then asked to make decisions based on ten scenarios. Some were business-related, others were simple choices, like whether to attend a music festival that had been paid for when illness and bad weather made enjoyment unlikely. As expected, the results indicated that higher trait mindfulness in volunteers translated into their having more resistance to include sunk costs in their decision-making process.
In subsequent studies, the team looked at the causal relationship between mindfulness meditation and the sunk cost bias in both laboratory and online settings. In each case, one group of volunteers was led through a breathing meditation (a form of mindfulness meditation), while another (the control group) underwent a mind-wandering induction, a simple procedure replicating the normal mental state.
All volunteers were then given a sunk-cost dilemma and asked to make a decision. In each study–whether it was online or in the laboratory–volunteers who had undergone mindfulness practice were significantly more likely to resist the sunk cost bias.
What was surprising, says Kinias, was the magnitude of the affect that came after such a short period of meditation. “In one of our experiments more than half the participants in the control condition committed the sunk cost bias whereas only 22% committed it following the 15 minute mindfulness meditation–that’s a pretty dramatic effect.”
“There may be cases when processing of the past can be useful for making decisions,” she concedes, “but what our research suggests is that people make better choices in the present moment when letting go of sunk costs is required to make the best decision.”
This article was originally published at INSEAD Knowledge.
MILTON KEYNES, England, June 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ —
New Milton Keynes business promotes role of regular meditation and massage in increasing individual wellbeing, business performance and economic growth.
Up to 90% of all illness is stress related. Inspired by this shocking statistic, Reiki With Ria, a holistic therapy practice based at Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes, is on a much overdue mission to change the way we think about our health and to place wellbeing at the heart of our daily lives. Bolstered by the government’s recent commitment to engage people for success in the working world while increasing wellbeing, Reiki With Ria is now expanding to provide wellbeing solutions for business.
Ria, the founder of the company explains: ‘The business was set up to help people improve the quality of their lives, by offering relaxation practices that have been scientifically proven to both counteract the negative effects of the stress response and to enhance physical and psychological health. To begin with, we sought to empower individuals: encouraging ownership of one’s own health and re-establishing it as a priority at all times – not just during times of ill health, is essential. Now, we feel it is time for a two-tiered approach, whereby businesses make a commitment to encourage and enhance their staff’s wellbeing recognising the correlation between employee wellbeing and increased profitability’.
Reiki With Ria offers Reiki, Massage Therapy, Stress Reduction and Meditation. Massage therapy, has for a long time been a firm favourite with the public, ‘people often perceive massage as a luxury- it can be, however this widely held belief restricts people from utilising the full extent of its health enhancing abilities’.
Meditation has gained much popularity of late, but as Ria points out, ‘many people have misconceptions about what meditation actually is. We believe that everybody can, and should, meditate and we always seek to demystify, simplify and make the practice relevant to ordinary people with ordinary concerns’.
If recent research is anything to go by, the case for developing a regular meditation practice is compelling. Benefits of meditation include stress reduction, pain management, improvement of immune function, regulation of emotion, improvements of focus and memory and anti ageing properties. For businesses and individuals it seems the research is clear – ‘Let’s all meditate’.
Reiki With Ria offers high quality massage and reiki treatments from their base at BletchleyPark. They hold regular meditation workshops and courses for complete beginners and more experienced mediators. From August 1(st) 2013 they will officially open their Wellness @ Work division,offering on-site massage,meditation instruction and support in developing workplace wellbeing programs.
Find out more at: http://www.reikiwithria.co.uk
Any questions should be directed to the Founder:
Bletchley Park, Sherwood Drive, Milton Keynes, MK3 6EB
SOURCE Reiki With Ria
The un informed visitor at Googleplex may find himself perplexed when he sees the presentation room filled with techies perched in half-lotus position, meditating. His confusion is justified since it is hard to imagine that the corporation that prides itself in thinking ahead of tomorrow is now looking back at centuries-old traditions to bring out the best in its employees.
Google is embracing Buddhist meditative practices in a big way. Zen masters and monks routinely tour the campus, the company has instituted self-awareness courses like Search Inside Yourself, Neural Self-Hacking and Managing Your Energy, designed to teach people to manage their emotions through meditation, and Googlers are signing up for these classes in droves.
No, Google isn’t renouncing its worldly searches. Quiet contemplation is the new buzzword in Silicon Valley, with the region’s heavyweights like Twitter and Facebook jumping aboard the neo-spiritual bandwagon.
Contemplative practices and meditation sessions has become key features of employee training in most firms. As in all things in the Valley, the centuries-old practices has been innovated to suit the Valley’s goal-oriented culture. Forget Nirvana, the not-so-lofty aim of these endeavours is all about training the brain to unleash productivity.
Research suggests that meditation can rewire the brain’s response to stress and helps improve memory and executive functions. Exercises in ‘ mindfulness’ – paying close, nonjudgmental attention – help understand a coworkers’ motivations and cultivate emotional intelligence. In the hyper-kinetic Silicon Valley, these self-regulation practices strengthen emotional resilience, and is a better coping mechanism than fast-food therapy.
Chade-Meng Tan, a Google employee and creator of the Search Inside Yourself programme, defines it as the Zen of Google. The course is a series of meditation exercises wrapped in the package of emotional intelligence. “The other-centricity that meditation breeds can boost your trajectory,” says Meng ,who believes that in a place like Google, where there is no dearth of high intelligence quotient, the differentiating factor that sets you apart from the rest is having high emotional intelligence.
Frustrated by his divorce, work stress and twitter addiction, Soren Gordhamer wrote a book – Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected. The book was no bestseller, but its message of living mindfully, wisely and compassionately in the digital age set off ripples of introspection in the tech community that culminated in the launch of the annual conference Wisdom 2.0.
The event serves as a connector of the technology and contemplative communities. The vision behind wisdom being, tapping our inner wisdom even as we integrate more and more technology into our lives, and keep them from taking over.
Wisdom 2013 drew huge crowds and the attendees included headliners like Jeff Weiner, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, and, Arianna Huffington, who describes the event as her version of Disneyland.
Meditation therapy is growing deep roots in the Valley which is no stranger to New Age fad cycles. The tech biz is taking periodic pauses in the rat race, trying to connect the dots between spirituality and technology, to find the bigger picture.
Global India Newswire
- Meditation Isn’t Just About Inner Peace — In The Valley, It’s About Getting Ahead (wired.com)
- Enlightenment engineers: meditation and mindfulness in Silicon Valley (wired.co.uk)
- Meditation in the workplace is growing (meaningfulwesternlife.com)
- Mindfulness goes corporate – and purists aren’t pleased (mind-revolution.org)
- Buddhist monk finds Google, Facebook might hold the key to eternal happiness (mind-revolution.org)