Steve Cope

Who Meditates at Work?

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Do you start your work meetings with a couple of minutes of meditation?

This morning, I talked with a teacher who has just introduced meditation into her classroom. "The great thing is," she said, "that it gives me a break in the day. And the kids love it, they keep asking for more!"

Two months ago, she thought meditating at work was simply impossible. Then, after attending a three day training on how to integrate meditation in the classroom, she gained the confidence to simply give it a try. And now, she is even prepared to have her inspector sit through a meditation session in class next week!

Neuroscientists have discovered that meditation can stimulate significant increases in activity in several parts of the left prefrontal cortex—an area of the brain associated with positive emotions, such as happiness, enthusiasm, joy and self-control.

Meditators also showed a decreased level of activity in the parts of the brain related to negative emotions, such as depression, self-centredness and a lack of happiness or satisfaction. Meditation also produces a calming effect in the amygdala, the part of the brain that acts as a trigger for fear and anger. 

Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to bring about a considerable strengthening of the immune system and of one’s capacity for concentration, as well as a reduction in arterial tension.

So it's not a great leap to see the benefits meditation could have in our working day. If even six-year old children ask for more, maybe our work colleagues would too.

If you're interested in this topic, many workplace experts now have experience of practical ways to integrate meditation in our work environment. They will gather in Lerab Ling, in the South of France, on 20-22 June 2014: mindfulness at work expert Michael Chaskalson, former World Bank advisor on values Richard Barrett, corporate meditation trainer Michael Carroll, empathy and compassion specialist Maureen Cooper, neuroscientist Shanida Nataraja, Zen monk Federico Procopio and many others.

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