CEO's have come to understand that the practice of mindfulness elicits mind-body-brain benefits that other types of relaxation such as playing golf or watching a movie do not.
Our brains are wonderfully complex and play a role in every single thought, emotion and physical sensation we experience. This includes every breath, every movement and even every eye blink! The brain is highly sensitive to all types of information coming into it. This sensitivity is the reason why it is important to find ways to manage stressful reactions when unable to prevent them altogether. It is simply wise medicine.
Mindfulness is quickly becoming a billion-dollar industry. There is hard science proving the effectiveness of meditation to reduce stress, increase focus, to foster creativity and resilience and to increase your emotional intelligence.
These are likely the reasons that CEO’s are turning to meditation - a way to practice mindfulness - instead of other forms of relaxation. They've come to understand that the practice of mindfulness elicits mind-body-brain benefits that other types of relaxation such as playing golf or watching a movie do not. It's an easy prescription for well-being.
This isn’t truly news. We’ve been reading about mindfulness and meditation for many years. When I first became trained as a Yoga Therapist in 1999, these practices were not nearly as well known.
We’ve learned a great deal since then about the deeply relaxing effect of yoga, mindfulness and meditation on the brain. In addition to feeling good, really good, meditation shifts the brain into a more productive state fostering and open mindset and brainset.
What happens when we practice mindfulness or some other form of relaxation?
We elicit the Relaxation Response.
First, the rhythm of intentional breathing or movement sends a signal to the brain to calm, which in turn, signals the part of the brain producing stress hormones to STOP.
Next, feel-good brain chemicals (hormones, neuro-transmitters) such as endorphins, our body’s natural pain-killers are released.
This release of feel-good hormones increases positive feelings, mood and outlook. Our field of vision and thought expand. Tension releases from our minds and our bodies.
Finally, this brain-set shift opens thought patterns to be far more open-minded and creative.
One of my mentors and teachers, Herb Benson, MD developed a mind-body practice to elicit what he coined the Relaxation Response. According to Dr. Benson, more than 80% of the reasons people seek healthcare is related to stress.
Fortunately, Benson’s Relaxation Response releases brain chemicals which help to calm and relax us. I was fortunate to study with Dr. Benson at the then called Harvard Mind Body Medical Institute learning first hand of the importance of calming a stressed brain.
The Relaxation Response is activated through a repetitive thought, movement or mental focus. Practices that do this include yoga, breathing, any mindful moment – walking, dancing, running and horseback riding.
Adding an aromatherapy scent such as Lavender – an essential oil high in linalool can elicit relaxation of the brain very quickly.
Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response
Just pop your details in below and we'll be sure to keep you in the loop.