A long day full of impulses, information, social encounters, and appointments. You´re tired and would like to go to sleep. Though your mind is still spinning around. I would like to invite you to do a walking meditation instead of watching a movie, your favourite series, or submerge yourself in another social encounter.
In walking meditation the primary object of attention is the walking itself. In other words, you pay close attention to the physical act of walking, the way you take one step after another. No goal or destination, it's just to enjoy the act of walking itself.
The focus of the mind on this more obvious object helps to achieve three things:
First, you stay active. After a long day, you might fall asleep with a sitting meditation. Furthermore going to sleep with a head full of thoughts and stress may lead to poor sleep. If your sleep only stays in the first stages of the sleeping pattern your body does not get fully charged. Leading to negative effects on the memory, judgement and mood. Walking meditation gives you the opportunity to relax the mind and body while having an active and vivid experience. This results in a good night sleep.
Second, walking meditation helps to relieve discomfort in a pleasant way. After a workday you might feel some tension, and restlessness. Shifting your awareness through your body releases the tension accumulated in your body. The movement of the body parts while walking makes it pleasant and bearable to focus your attention on the painful areas. While your breath functions as a cool airstream that brings relaxation.
Third, the practice will awaken your curiosity to what is going on right now. The present is always with us, though we are always occupied with over 1000 thoughts every minute. With this simpel meditation practice you bring your thoughts back to two: breathing and walking. A perfect distraction for the mind of the usual train of thoughts. This will sharpen awareness and train the mind to concentrate. Though the best is that you'll be trained to be aware of the small things that surround you. For example enjoy that cup of tea before going to bed, truly listening to your partner during dinner. The act of paying attention to what's going on right now.
It is a real exploration of the body & mind. A simple practice rather than a search for spiritual enlightenment. Therefore everyone can do it, in any type of environment. You'll be surprised by the outcome: a beautiful smile, eyes full of life, ready to enjoy your evening, and sleep like a baby.
I hope to walk with you soon.
We often have to deal with work-related stress. Are we actually fully aware of the consequences of stress? According to the Harvard business school mayor health issues like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and poor mental health, arise from workplace stress. At one point it's not possible anymore to deal with the increasing amount of stress.
Today employees and managers are overloaded with a remarkable amount of information and distraction. Emails, instant messaging, social media platforms, co-workers, phone-calls, constantly changing demands, updates, and deadlines. Where over 50% of worker's day is spent on “managing information”. This excess of information results in “a loss of ability to make decisions, process information, and prioritise tasks”.
This is exactly the reason why work-related stress is not solved by taking extra days off, going on a holiday or try get a good night sleep. Due to 100% connectivity it's even more challenging to create a healthy work-life balance as work is taken home and home is taken to work. Connectivity creates that our mind is constantly ON. Therefore our capability to truly relax has dramatically diminished. Our lives are online, connected, and updating information. When do we give our mind a true rest?
The mind is responsible for thoughts, feelings, happiness levels and work performance, it makes sense to take care of this most valuable resource.
Luckily there is an effective solution to reduce stress levels, enhance our predictive capabilities by allowing ourselves to truly rest.
For centuries meditation is known to work with both the body and mind. Current technological development enable us to actually follow the effects of meditation in the brain. With regular practice in meditation denser grey matter in the brain related to memory and emotional processing are changed and can drastically improve your attention span. A great added value in the age where our attention span is measured to be less than a goldfish. A meta-analysis of 47 trials with 3,515 participants found that people participating in mindfulness meditation programs experienced less anxiety, depression, and pain.
Furthermore practical evidence from corporations are reinforcing scientific evidence. For example results from Blackrock where Golbie Kamarei implemented meditation programs. Employee responses measure that 91% believes it positively adds to the culture, 88% would recommend it to a colleague 66% experiences less stress and better ability to manage stress, 63% are better able to manage themselves at work, and 60% experiences an increased focus, mental resilience and better decision making.
Therefore it's no surprise that big companies as Apple, Google, Yahoo, P&G, Nike, Salesforce, and HBO have implemented meditation programs in their corporate culture. Implementing mindfulness practices within your organisation is actually most effective way generate mutual benefit for business and staff. While wellbeing of staff is improved due to true relaxation of the mind and body, business performance is enhanced as it has more productive and better performing staff.
Meditation cultivates professionals that can actually deal with workplace stress in this increasingly demanding environment while being able to truly relax the body and mind. Furthermore the implementation of mindfulness practices encourages top performance as it enhances better decision making and productivity. Whether you are a small business or you work for a big corporate, now it is an ideal time to introduce this ancient practice to balancing work, life, and body by breathing and attention.
As every individual and corporation is unique the best evidence is to experience meditation and mindfulness practices yourself!