Clint Eastwood won’t make a movie without his twice a day meditation practice. Gwyneth Paltrow has committed to building her practice. Richard Gere swears by meditation. What’s all the hullabaloo about meditation?
According to a study-cited article in the Telegraph, people who meditate regularly have half the rate of heart attacks as people who don’t. Stress is a key cause of heart disease, and practitioners and experts say a regular practice greatly reduces stress.
According to the CDC, the United States currently spends $450 billion dollars annually on heart disease. Dr. William S. Weintraub, chair of cardiology and cardiology section chief at Christiana Care Health System in Newark, DE states, "What we spend on cardiovascular disease is not sustainable. But we can afford to prevent it. Ultimately, we can't afford not to.”
When it comes to affordability and effectiveness, the Mayo Clinic backs up the ability of a meditation to soothe one’s life and outlook. Even a few minutes of quiet focus each day can bring results that can have far-reaching affects on your health. The Mayo Clinic cites the below as some of the emotional benefits of meditation;
Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
Building skills to manage your stress
Focusing on the present
Reducing negative emotions
The study cited in the Telegraph included 44 people who had been meditating daily between five and 46 years. These participants had an increase in the gray matter of their brains, and they also sport a larger hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that focuses on learning and memory.
Meditation can be as simple as “focused attention” where the participant sits for ten to twenty minutes and focuses on their breath. When wandering thoughts occur, the participant lets go of the thought and comes back to the breath. Some practices include incorporating a favorite word or empowering phrase that is repeated over and over.
The Mayo Clinic describes a walking meditation, where the walker takes their time, enjoys the scenery, and notices how the body is feeling, while maintaining a steady, even breath.
If cutting your employees heart attack risk in half is a worthwhile investment, consider your returns on a wellness practice that can be done for free. Meditation and stress-reduction wellness programs are perfect for your corporate heavy-hitters and achievers.