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Breathe like

Elon Musk

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SPW Contributors

Sanlam Private Wealth

Many top business leaders swear by meditation as a means of controlling stress and increasing work focus. Think Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, David Letterman and Jeff Bezos. Psychologist and mindfulness trainer Linda Kantor tells us why it works. Plus, sample this five-minute meditation.

Given the significant costs associated with employee ill health, burnout and resignation, there’s an increased need for low-cost and easy-to-learn stress-management practices within the corporate space. Experts agree that mindfulness and meditation has proven to be a powerful technique for reducing stress and improving resilience within fast-paced and digitised work environments.

Psychologist Linda Kantor believes the business world is dealing with issues of complexity, stress and a pace of life and work that’s unprecedented. ‘Organisations are looking for new ways of coping and new ways of thinking,’ she says. ‘Funnily enough, the ancient tradition of meditation has much to offer.’

While many business people still dismiss meditation as New Age hocus-pocus, it’s undoubtedly becoming more mainstream. This is probably because it’s supported by hard facts: countless studies have confirmed the benefits of meditation.

Scientific research has shown that meditation strengthens brain structures such as those involved in decision-making, memory and emotional flexibility, and high-level information processing. People who meditate for about 40 minutes a day have thicker tissue in the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being.

A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that 40 out of 60 high blood-pressure patients who started meditating could stop taking their blood pressure medication.

Meanwhile, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2015 found that people who engaged in mindfulness meditation had a 44% reduction in emotional response to physical pain and a 27% decrease in pain intensity.

Good enough reason to claim your five minutes of stillness every day?

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