I thought you would be interested in this blog article about meditation. I found Tracy’s article insightful and very helpful and offers a nice break from the financial articles that have been recently posted, please enjoy Tracy Ambrico’s article.
by ADMIN on JANUARY 5, 2013
By Tracy Ambrico
Is there a connection between the practice of mindful meditation and professional success? Mounting evidence suggests the answer is yes.
Meditation is no longer the exclusive turf of spiritualists and mystics. Universities from Harvard to UCLA have been studying the affects of the practice for a decade or more.
The studies have produced surprising results. For instance in a Harvard study completed in 2006, brain scans showed that experienced meditators developed increased thickness in areas of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input. In other words, their brains actually increased in size.
According to the Harvard Gazette, “in one area of gray matter, the thickening turns out to be more pronounced in older than in younger peoples brains. That’s intriguing because those sections of the human cortex, or thinking cap, normally get thinner as we age.”
The study examined brain scans from 20 meditators and compared them to 15 scans from non-meditators. Of the 20, only 4 were meditation instructors or yoga teachers, the rest were from other professions including law, journalism, and health care. The practice used was the Buddhist “Insight” form of meditation, which teaches subjects to focus on present conditions like sounds, body sensations and breathing.
Insight meditation, as opposed to TM, asks the individual to focus on sensory experience instead of the thoughts related to the experience. Becoming accustomed to not thinking or elaborating on the sensations is the goal. People who practice meditation soon realize that much of what occurs in their minds is made up of random thoughts with little substance.
As deadlines approach, or a crisis occurs, anxiety about potential outcomes (what if) increases stress and can interfere with a person’s ability to respond effectively. Meditation trains practitioners to focus on the present moment with fewer distractions, which can both reduce stress and encourage better decisions.
In a follow up study published by Harvard Science, researchers found changes in the area of the participants brains that process emotions, leading to the hypothesis that meditation can improve emotional stability and response to stress.
And, if medical research isn’t enough to persuade you of the potential value of including daily meditation practice in your routines, perhaps a look at a few of the more celebrated and successful individuals who swear by their daily practice will help:
- Ray Dalio, CEO of Bridgewater Associates, has been practicing meditation since the Beatles first expressed an interest in the practice after visiting India.
- Salesforce founder and CEO. Marc Benioff began practicing meditation to relieve stress when he was working at Oracle.
- Robert Stiller, founder of Green Mountain Coffee, who practices meditation daily, also provides meditation training for his employees.
- Former Chairman and CEO of The Hartford Financial Services Group, Ramani Ayer believes meditation makes him a better decision maker.
- CEO Rick Goings of Tupperware said in an interview with The Financial Times, he usually devotes 20 minutes a day to meditation as a means to improve focus and manage stress.
- Steve Jobs also provided meditation training to his employees and believed strongly in the practice as a means to improve focus and ignore distractions.
It’s easier than ever to incorporate meditation into your life without taking a class or leaving the comfort and privacy of your home or desk.
For example, ITunes U, available on tablets and phones, has free meditations ready for download. You can access Duke Universities CAPS self help materials for 3 guided meditations ranging from 7 minutes to 20. UCLA also offers guided meditations at ITunes U from their Mindful Awareness Research Center.
All you have to do is put on a pair of earbuds, connect to your Ipad or other device, push the start button and follow the instructions.
May this practice give you peace.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.