There is an increasingly amount of Meditation and Business marriages happening in the workforce. Its a pretty well known fact that people such as Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs meditate but now may more companies large and small are integrating Meditation into their businesses. Large companies such as Google, IBM, & Huffington Post all offer meditation to their employees. Now many smaller companies are taking the heed as well, Why? BECAUSE IT WORKS! Lower stress and anxiety while increasing creative problem solving skills and productivity are just the start. The Meditation and Business worlds are coming together and people are becoming happier and healthier in their work and personal lives. Following are some articles and research that have been done discussing Meditation and Business, with links to the full articles for further reading. If you would like to delve further into the benefits of meditation visit:
Billionaire, Founder of Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio (the world’s largest hedge fund firm on Wall Street) states that, ” Meditation, more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had…It opens the mind. It creates an openess, a freedom…that creativity just kind of comes through and it creates an equanimity. In other words, you could step back and could put things in perspective…[It] has given me centeredness and creativity…It’s also given me peace and health”
The Success Secret of Top-Level CEOs
(Meditation and Business)
A list of some of the top-level CEO’s who meditate regularly reads like a “who’s who” of Fortune 500 executives. From Fortune:
Meditation devotees include junk-bond-king-turned-philanthropist Mike Milken; Bill George, the former Medtronic CEO; ad industry mogul Renetta McCann; and NBA coach Phil Jackson. Silicon Valley is full of meditators, such as Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce.com, and Larry Brilliant, head of Google’s philanthropic efforts. Naturally, a crew of Google employees has organized twice-weekly open meditation hours, at which it has hosted Tibetan monks and a team of mind-science researchers.
Meditation also has some high-profile corporate disciples offering employee benefits, including Apple, Yahoo, AstraZeneca, Deutsche Bank, Time Warner, Texas Instruments, Raytheon and Hughes Aircraft. From BusinessWeek:
There are no hard numbers on how many companies have added meditation benefits, but the anecdotal evidence is mounting. And it’s no surprise that more employers are seeking a new corporate balm. The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health finds that stress-related ailments cost companies about $200 billion a year in increased absenteeism, tardiness, and the loss of talented workers. Between 70% to 90% of employee hospital visits are linked to stress. And job tension is directly tied to a lack of productivity and loss of competitive edge.
Meditation is a powerful tool for increasing mental clarity and performance. Whether your business has a staff of 5 or 500, engaging in meditative practices will arm employees and businesses with the tools to be more productive, profitable and successful.
(Meditation and Business)
“The world is waking up to the benefits meditation because they’re learning why so many world-leading organisations have meditation as an essential part of their operation,” he says. “There’s scientific evidence of changes in the brain after eight weeks of practising mindfulness meditation. Parts of the brain responsible for stress start to reduce while the areas of the brain responsible for clear thinking, happiness, calmness and inner peace increase.”
“We teach meditation as a productivity tool,” he says. “Essentially what organisations – from small business owners to large corporations – benefit from is what we call the CFC Method, which is about becoming calm, focused and clear. Once you are these things, everything else in that person’s life starts to improve. For example, when somebody’s calm they make better decisions, when somebody’s focused they get more done in less time and when someone’s clear, then clear-thinking is a natural by-product, but it also creates space in the mind for new ideas and new ways to solve things and get creative.”
One of the biggest barriers to participation for the busy executive is the feeling they’re so busy they don’t have time to sit back and meditate. Jajesnica says this attitude is particularly rife in the legal profession where he worked before launching Mr Meditate.
“A lawyer bills in five to six-minute incremental units and spending three of these meditating isn’t considered productive,” he says. “However, you speed up by slowing down. You’re maintaining your mind. You’re not performing at your best when stressed or anxious, and your mind is ruminating. Even by just taking five minutes out to reduce tension and re-enter whatever you’re doing with more calmness and a bit more perspective, objectivity and awareness; will help with performance.”
How Meditation Can Change Business
(Meditation and Business)
By Jill Suttie
But while many researchers have shown positive effects of mindfulness meditation, fewer studies have looked at these effects in the workplace. Gelles describes one experiment in which a biotech company in Madison took an eight-week course in mindfulness-based stress reduction taught by Jon Kabat-Zinn and discovered that it helped workers feel significantly less stressed than a control group of co-workers. Perhaps more surprisingly though, the workers who did the course also measurably increased their brain grey matter and showed improved immune function.
Research like this, as well as the personal experiences of various industry leaders, seems to have galvanized companies to try mindfulness in the workplace, and Gelles’ book is primarily a “who’s who” of those companies. We read about the mindful leadership program at General Mills, which is ongoing and has produced a more positive work environment for its employees. And we learn how the health insurance organization, Aetna, came to offer mindfulness to more than a third of its employees in order to decrease worker stress and associated healthcare costs.
Meditation in the Workplace – Making Staff More Productive
(Meditation and Business)
If there was one small thing which you could do to make yourself or your workforce more productive, you’d do it right? This is one of the many reasons why, across the world, 21st century workers are turning to the ancient practice of meditation to help them focus and prioritise effectively.
In a study by the university of Washington Seattle, HR workers who had an 8-week mindfulness meditation training course were found to be more focused and to have a less negative attitude towards work than a trial group who had been on an 8-week relaxation training course.
Training the mind to focus is undoubtedly beneficial to productivity when studies show that the average attention span is now 8 seconds thanks to the fast moving, technology obsessed society we live in. So not only does employee performance improve, but studies have shown that a regular meditation practice reduces stress and anxiety in the brain.
Aside from reduced stress and improved productivity, there are many other benefits that come from a corporate meditation program. A regular meditation practice helps to open creative doorways in the brain. With increased focus, problem-solving skills get more creative and new ideas enter the mind more freely. Many people believe that Steve Jobs was so successful in coming up with new and innovative ideas for Apple thanks to a regular meditation practice. As someone who maintained a regular meditation practice and was one of the first corporate leaders to implement in-office mindfulness programs, it’s no doubt that some of Apple’s success is due to his disciplined mental focus and control.
Meditation benefits have also been proven to help resolve workplace conflicts. Mindfulness practices equip employees with better conflict management and interpersonal skills that make resolving issues easier for employees and managers alike.
Part I: Effects of stress on health and productivity
(Meditation and Business)
Harvard researchers estimate that 60-90% of doctor’s visits are caused by stress. Stress is linked to the following illnesses: heart attacks, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, insomnia, allergies, headache, backache, various skins disorders, cancer, accidents, suicide, depression, immune system weakness, decreases in the number and function of white blood cells.
1) Stress is more powerful than diet in influencing cholesterol levels. Studies of medical students near exam time and accountants during tax season showed significant increases in cholesterol levels during stressful events, when there was little or no change in diet.
Rosenman, Homeostasis 34 (1993)
2) During several years of rising unemployment, workers in departments with the most downsizing suffered twice the normal death rate from heart attack and stroke.
Chandola, British Medical Journal 332 (January, 2006)
3) More than 50% of adults have insomnia a few nights a week or more. 25% suffer from insomnia occurring most nights and lasting a month or longer.
Thakur, Duke University Medical Center (2004)
4) Severe stress may be a potent risk factor for stroke even 50 years after the initial trauma. In a study of 556 veterans of WWII, the rate of stroke among those who had been prisoners of war was eight times higher than among those not captured.
Page and Brass, Yale Medical, Military Medicine 166 (2001)
5) Workplace stress is estimated to cause:
19% of absenteeism
40% of turnover
55% of EAP programs
60% of workplace accidents
30% of short and long-term disability
What Stress Costs, Ravi Tangri, Oxford, (2003)
6) Stress appears to significantly increase the ability of pharmaceuticals to pass through the blood-brain barrier, which normally protects the brain from toxins in the bloodstream. Many of today’s medicines are developed under the assumption that they cannot cross this barrier.
Hebrew University, Nature Medicine 2 (12) (1996)
7) Common emotions such as tension, frustration, and sadness trigger frequent heart abnormalities that can lead to permanent heart damage. Study results show a direct relationship between negative emotions, an inadequate flow of blood to the heart, and increased risk of heart attack.
Journal of the American Medical Association 277 (1997)
Part II: Clinical Research on Benefits of Meditation
(Meditation and Business)
Hundreds of studies have been conducted on meditation and its beneficial effects on heart disease, cholesterol, high blood pressure, insomnia, chronic pain, cancer, and immunity. Studies have also shown significant improvements in mental health, memory, concentration, and productivity.
1) Meditation lowers blood pressure in people who are normal to moderately hypertensive. This finding has been replicated in more than nineteen studies, some of which have shown systolic reductions among subjects of 25 mmHg or more.
Murphy and Donovan, The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation, Institute of Noetic Sciences, 1997
2) Stress management appears to be as beneficial as aerobic exercise in preventing major cardiac events. A group receiving standard care turned out to have the most cardiac events, such as heart attacks, open-heart surgery, and angioplasty. The group that studied stress management had fewer problems – equal to that of the aerobics group.
Blumenthal, American Journal of Cardiology, 89 (January, 2002)
3) Twenty-eight people with high levels of blocked arteries and high risk of heart attack practiced a program of meditation, yoga, a low-fat vegetarian diet, and exercise. A control group received conventional medical care endorsed by the AMA. In one year, most of the experimental group reported that their chest pains had virtually disappeared; in 82% of the patients, arterial clogging had reversed. The control group experienced an increase in chest pain and arterial blockage. Subsequent studies indicate that stress-reduction may be the most significant factor.
Ornish, The Lancet 336 (July, 1990)
4) Meditation significantly increases circulation. Forearm blood flow increased in novice meditators by 30%. Frontal cerebral blood flow increased an average of 65% in experienced meditators, and remained elevated afterwards, with brief increases of up to 100 to 200%.
Murphy and Donovan, The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation, Institute of Noetic Sciences (1997)
5) 75% of long-term insomniacs who have been trained in relaxation, meditation, and simple lifestyle changes can fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.
Jacobs, Harvard Medical, Say Goodnight To Insomnia, Owl Books (1999)
6) Those trained in meditation were able to reduce chronic pain by more than 50%. This gain was maintained even 4 years after the initial training.
Kabat-Zinn, Clinical Journal of Pain 2 (1986)
7) Meditation and relaxation therapies are effective in treating chronic pain, and can markedly ease the pain of low back problems, arthritis, and headaches.
National Institutes of Health (NIH), JAMA 276 (4) (1996)
8) In a study of health insurance statistics, meditators showed hospitalization rates 87% less than non-meditators for heart disease, 55% less for benign and malignant tumors, 30% less for infectious diseases, and 50% less for out-patient doctor visits.
Orme-Johnson, Psychosomatic Medicine 49 (1987)
9) Surgery patients who learned simple relaxation and meditation techniques stayed in the hospital an average of 1.5 days fewer than those in a control group. Results include faster recovery from surgery, fewer complications, and reduced postsurgical pains. Findings were consistent in 191 independent studies.
Devine, University of Wisconsin, School of Nursing, Patient Education and Counseling 19 (1992)
10) A group of inner-city residents suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, depression, diabetes, and hypertension were trained in meditation. They experienced a 50% reduction in overall psychiatric symptoms, a 70% decrease in anxiety, and a 44% reduction in symptoms.
Roth and Creaser, Nurse Practitioner, 22 (3) (1997)
11) Meditation helped chronically depressed patients to reduce their relapse rate by half.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 68 (2000)
12) Those practicing meditation for more than five years were physiologically 12 years younger than their chronological age, measured by reduction of blood pressure, better near-point vision, and auditory discrimination. Short-term meditators were physiologically five years younger than their chronological age.
International Journal of Neuroscience 16 (1982)
13) Middle school students exposed to relaxation and meditation techniques over a three year period scored higher on work habits, cooperation, attendance and had significantly higher GPA’s than non-meditating students.
Benson, Journal of Research and Development in Education 33 (3) (2000)
14) Forty-eight children who participated in a 6-week meditation program showed significant improvements in behavior, self-esteem, and relationship quality, with an average 35% improvement in ADHD symptoms. Of 31 children taking medication for their ADHD. 11 were able to reduce their medications.
Harrison, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 9 (4) (October, 2004)
15) Meditative self-awareness can reduce binge overeating. In a study of overweight women, meditation training and awareness practice while eating (slowly savoring the flavor of a piece of cheese, being aware of how much is enough), reduced eating binges from an average of 4 per week to 1.5 per week.
Kristeller and Hallett, Journal of Health Psychology 4 (1999)
16) Meditation produced a larger reduction in tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use than standard substance abuse treatments or prevention programs. Whereas effects of conventional programs normally decrease significantly by three months, effects of meditation on total abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs ranged from 50% to 89% over 18 to 22 months.
Alexander, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11 (1994)
17) Stress reduction significantly reduces medical errors. Twenty-two hospitals that implemented a stress prevention program experienced a 50% drop in medical errors and a 70% reduction in malpractice claims, compared to a control group of twenty-two hospitals, which showed no change in errors or claims.
Jones, Journal of Applied Psychology 73 (4) (1988)
18) Technology workers at a small Wisconsin company reported high stress and unhappiness with their jobs. Scans confirmed high levels of right-brain activity.* After eight weeks of meditation practice, activity in the left side of the brains increased significantly. Workers reported feeling happier, with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for life and work. The control group showed no change. At the end of the 8 weeks, both groups received flu shots to test immune responses. The meditators developed more antibodies against the flu virus than the non-meditators. Those with the strongest immune response had the highest levels of left-sided brain activity.
*Brain scans show that meditation shifts activity in the prefrontal cortex from the right hemisphere to the left. People who have a negative disposition tend to be right-prefrontal oriented; left-prefrontals have more enthusiasms, more interests, relax more, and tend to be happier.
Davidson and Kabat-Zinn, Psychosomatic Medicine 65 (2003)
The Cost to Employers Is £26bn
(Meditation and Business)
In 2013, 131 million days in the UK were lost due to absence from work because of sickness, according to the Office for National Statistics, of which 15 million days were lost in the workplace due to mental illness described as “stress, anxiety or depression”.
The Centre of Mental Health claims that UK employers have faced a cost of £26 billion through sickness absence, reduced productivity and recruitment costs, all as a direct result of the increase of mental illness in the workplace. Forty percent of employers are seeing an increase in reported mental health problems and working days lost (CIPD’s 2014 Absence Management Survey).
It is now accepted as having great benefits in relieving stress, and research shows its direct reduction of anxiety and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Transcendental meditation, which is considered a progression for meditators wanting a deeper experience and even more profound results, also has a strong research evidence base a reduction of stress, depression and anxiety on a physiological and psychological basis are indicated, amongst many other benefits to health and well-being.
Research into TM also indicates that regular meditation within the workplace significantly improves job satisfaction and productivity. This would suggest that business owners would be prudent to invest in meditation programs to increase their workplace wellbeing and output.
Many high-profile business leaders practice regular meditation integrated into their hectic schedule to allow them to cope with the extreme levels of stress and hard work. Surely we should follow their lead and begin to take advantage of the benefits that meditation can offer our stress levels in the workplace.
Summary: Meditation and Business are the perfect couple and more and more businesses are realizing this truth. Meditation in the workplace is a solution for many of the problems that arise as its practice relieves the mind of overworking and overstimulation. Continual practice is a much needed breath of fresh air to the practitioner and offers clarity, creativity, happiness and Health. To see more research of the effectiveness of Meditation for Students visit: