One of my companies, Energetix Corporation, launched a new stress reduction initiative today. Modeled after programs currently running in companies like General Mills, Google, Apple and Deutsche Bank, we’re offering training in yoga and meditation as a means of generating a higher degree of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is defined as being “a state of being fully present, aware of oneself and other people, and sensitive to one’s reactions to stressful situations.” Studies show that leaders who are mindful tend to be more effective in understanding and relating to others, and motivating them toward shared goals. Moreover, they tend to be happier, more relaxed and more productive at home and at work.
A growing body of scientific research explains this phenomenon, long recognized as being true in Eastern spirituality circles. An recent Financial Times article on the topic of yoga, meditation and mindfulness in the corporate world notes:
This may sound like New Age mumbo-jumbo, but a growing body of academic research provides a scientific explanation. Meditation is shown to reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress. When cortisol levels drop, the mind grows calmer and gains the stability to become more focused. “Mindfulness is an idea whose time has come,” says Google’s [“Search Inside Yourself” program founder, Chade-Meng] Tan. “For a long time practitioners knew, but the science wasn’t there. Now the science has caught up.”
I’m excited to see what comes of this initiative and if my own experience with mindfulness is a guide, those on my team who are interested in participating are in for a wonderful experience. There is no reason why we cannot be more aware of our connection to the rhythms and cycles of the earth, more conscious of our interrelatedness and more at ease in our own skin and I am confident that this program will open the door to that experience.