Creating Space and Possibility: Response v. Reaction

We all do it all the time: react without thinking. It’s instinctive, and it can be really harmful in a close-knit environment like an fast-paced office.

How many times have you reacted in a way you later regretted?

All too often we let our ego and bodily sensations take over. Meditation slows people down (in a good way!), creating space for each individual to choose a response instead of engaging in an instinctive reaction.

With these tools in place, your employees won’t feel bound to the typical rollercoaster of emotions next time there’s a creative disagreement or HR emergency. Instead, they’ll be able to assess the situation with a clear head, problem-solving for a positive result versus wading in waters of fear.

When people respond to events they stay in their power, when they react they give that power away.

Journey Meditation is here to make your team stronger, happier, and more powerful.

3 Ways Meditation Can Improve Your Life Right Now (Yes, Right Now!)

When you think about it, 15 minutes a day isn’t a lot of time (that’s what we recommend for your daily Journey practice). In fact, 15 minutes is only 1% of your day. So how can it make such a big difference? Remember, big waves are generated by small ripples.

If you’re wondering what meditation has done, or could do, for you lately, look no further than these five benefits.

1.  Better communication with your loved ones and colleagues.

Next time your boss asks for the presentation a day earlier, meditation will be there to keep you calm and centered in the face of an all-nighter. With a meditation practice you can problem-solve like a rock star without losing precious time to stress and confusion. A quick, simple breathing exercise will clear your mind and open up your communication pathways.

2. More go with the flow.

We’ve all been there: the hotel lost your reservation or bad weather rained out your show. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but it’s how you deal with the ups and downs that define who you are. Meditation provides you with the tools you need to stay balanced and flexible in situations that would otherwise drive you crazy.

3. Reconnect you with you.

In high school it felt like the clock moved backwards, like the end of 5th period would never come and you’d be trapped in an Algebra 2 black hole forever. But now that you’re an adult it’s like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Weeks, months, years fly by, and in the midst of it all you’ve got conference calls, boozy brunches and your mother nagging you about when you’ll finally settle down. But where are you in all of that chaos? Meditation not only helps you find yourself but it guides you to reconnect with your inner wants, desires, and values, whether time is standing still or flying by.

5 Ways Meditation Can Help Your Employees and Boost Your Bottom Line (Right Now!)

The benefits of meditation are incredible when it comes to physical, mental, and emotional health.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, the top two chronic health conditions driving health-related costs for employers are depression and obesity. Add to that their finding that 60% of employers who offer workplace wellness said the programs reduced their corporate health care costs and the case for meditation in the office becomes even stronger.

Learn about five ways meditation can help your employees and boost your bottom line right now.

More clarity and focus.

In a study led by Harvard researchers, MRI scans showed that meditation decreased gray matter density in the amygdala, the part of the brain that deals with stress and anxiety, and participants reported significant reductions in stress. Another study from University of California Santa Barbara found that undergraduates who took a two-week meditation class revealed marked reductions in mind-wandering (ya know, where your head goes when the clock strikes 4:00 pm). Less stress equals more clarity, it’s as simple as that.

Increased employee loyalty.

Because meditation helps employees feel less stressed, it reduces working hours lost to anxiety, indecision, and self-doubt. Because of this, employees are likely to feel happier and more satisfied with their jobs and lives. If an employer is the one to put this positive cycle into place it won’t go unnoticed. Employees reinvest when they’ve been invested in, and the best way to show your support for your employees’ lives is by genuinely committing to their overall well-being.

Improved communication.

Leave it to Harvard to confirm that people who are stressed out have a harder time organizing their thoughts. In today’s hyper-collaborative professional world, poor communication can be more than an annoyance -- it can be a deal-breaker. Meditation helps employees sort through their heads to identify important ideas from nagging worries. It’s not just about ignoring certain thoughts, it’s about having the tools necessary to acknowledge them and quietly, purposefully move on.

Decreased absenteeism due to illness.

Research from the University of Paris Descartes states that the benefits of physical activity and exercise are enhanced with a meditation practice. There is a direct correlation between what’s happening in the mind and what’s going on in the body, and the sooner people can see and foster that connection, the happier and healthier (and more productive) they’ll be. What does this mean for you as an employer? Less money lost to sick days and spent on health care.

Increased productivity.

People who meditate are more open to handling difficult situations, whether that’s a hectic home life, a day of back-to-back meetings, or a brainstorming session to develop the next big thing. Productivity takes a hit when employees are stuck worrying. Stress creates patterns that lead to isolation and inefficiency, but meditation can help break through all of that. A quick, simple meditation helps employees find calm and balance even in the most chaotic circumstances.

Think about it: What can a little meditation do for your team, your company, and your annual goals?

5 Common Misconceptions About Meditation (What Do You Believe?)

When you hear the word ‘meditation,’ what do you think of?

A tunic-wearing dude with a man-bun sitting peacefully on a hill in some far-off land?

A tall and trim blonde in designer gear with a $13 green juice in-hand?

Things that are new and different often seem strange and unwelcoming. But what if you put your preconceived notions to the side and opened yourself up to opportunity? You do it every time you forgive a friend or try a new food (remember when you thought you hated Brussel sprouts?). So why not do it with a powerful practice that can transform your mind, body, and spirit? (Yeah, it’s that good!)

There are a lot of misconceptions about meditation. Here are five of the most common.

1. Meditation is hard to do.

Got yourself? Check. Got a couple minutes? Then you’re ready to meditate! That’s right, all you need is yourself and a little time. Forget exotic lands, beachside cliffs and veggie drinks that cost half your rent. Meditation is about you, not your outfit, location or social status. So long as you’ve got you, you’ve got the skills to meditate.

2. Meditation is a religious practice.

Sure, there are people who use meditation to deepen their religious or spiritual commitments, however, many techniques (including our Journey Meditation practice) are non-denominational. Practicing meditation won’t make you a Buddhist, Scientologist or anything else, but it will give you clarity on who you do want to become as a person in this world.

3. It takes years to see results.

Meditation isn’t like preparing for the Olympics: it doesn’t take years of work to get in shape. Your mind is flexible, like a rubberband, and it responds quickly to mental workouts. Just one five-minute meditation practice can help you feel calmer, grounded, and more focused. If just a few minutes can do all of that, imagine the benefits of meditating everyday!

4. Meditation takes too much time.

A little bit of meditation can go a long way. If you don’t have 20 minutes, 15 will do just fine. If you don’t have 15 minutes, try getting in a quick ten. And if that’s still too much, take five minutes at the beginning or end of your day to just sit with yourself. Try this simple, easy Journey meditation, which only takes ten minutes, and see what you can accomplish in the time it takes to make your bed. [LINK TO A MEDITATION]

5. Meditation is the same as relaxing.

Meditation is an active practice. When you relax you turn off your mind, but when you meditate you focus your mind, typically on your breath. Meditation is a great way to tame those endless thoughts [LINK TO TRAINING THE MONKEY MIND]---like why does my dad still nag me about becoming a lawyer or how many times is my boss going to use the word ‘literally’ in today’s meeting---and that requires more effort than just hanging out.

Are there any meditation myths you believe? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

How Can A Company Cultivate Positive Employee Health? Enter: Meditation

Consider how much your company spends on health care and insurance every year. What if you could minimize those costs while deepening your commitment to every member of your team?

The benefits of meditation are multilayered, ranging from increased focus and elevated levels of productivity to positive emotions and a greater sense of well-being.

And they extend to nutrition. A literature review from UCLA found that people who meditate are more apt to make healthier, life-supporting decisions surrounding nutrition and eating. What that means for your employees is that meditation makes healthy living easier. What that means for your bottom line is that meditation helps to minimize health care and insurance costs. A win-win if we’ve ever seen one.

Maybe you already give your employees a gym membership or free training sessions, but how good are those physical interventions if the mind still needs adjustment? Research from the University of Paris Descartes states that the benefits of physical activity and exercise are enhanced with a meditation practice. There is a direct correlation between what’s happening in the mind and what’s going on in the body, and the sooner people can see and foster that connection, the happier and healthier (and more productive) they’ll be. 

Research also shows that meditation has a positive effect on our daily health behaviors. A study from UCLA shows that individuals who meditate sleep better at night. And what does longer, stronger sleep lead to? A happier, healthier person, someone excited by and committed to making the most of their everyday. (Don’t believe us? See what HuffPo wonder woman Arianna Huffington had to say about sleep in her latest book, The Sleep Revolution.)

This insight and research helps us understand the physiological benefits of meditation, both during and after. Cultivating good employee health starts by creating a trusted space for reflection and the calming aspects of mindfulness. Meditation is the path to guide you and your employees there.

What Does it Really Mean to be 'Mindful'?

You look both ways before crossing the street, hold the door open for the next person, and always remember to wish your best friend a happy birthday (riiiight?)

But is that what it really means to be ‘mindful’?

 To be mindful is to be present, open, and aware. In both head and heart. 

Have you ever been at a really great concert and felt like the only person there? Under the lights, amongst the crowd, immersed in the energy -- your senses are heightened, absorbing every sight, sound, and vibration; your head and heart are in communication, with one another and every other. This is what it means to be mindful. 

Your life is busy, filled with important commitments and tons of technology, all of which can make it can be hard for you to focus. Meditation provides you with an escape from everyday distractions -- it’s a way to feel calm even when things get crazy.

Jon Kabat Zinn has said that mindfulness is “Paying attention; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

So take time to stop and smell the roses (literally), chat up a new neighbor, or enjoy a good old-fashioned sunset while your Netflix account takes a power nap. Don’t worry, your busy life will still be there when you’re done.