Did you take part in prAna’s #taketheleap challenge? If you said yes, I wouldn’t be surprised. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 21 million people now practice yoga, double the number from a decade ago, and 18 million practice meditation. As a healthcare provider, these number make me really happy.
Mindfulness refers to an awareness of the present moment and it can be applied to multiple settings: eating, exercising, even spending time with others. Research has already shown us that mindfulness during eating can be a beneficial addition to a weight loss program. A study recently published in The Journal of Health Psychology found that mindfulness during exercise lead to a greater sense of satisfaction with exercise, which then lead to a greater likelihood of engaging in regular exercise.
The CEO of Aetna whole heartedly believes in the power of mindfulness and meditation. So much so, that Aetna offers employees the option to participate in yoga and meditation classes at work. Of the company’s 50,000 employees, more than one-quarter have participated in at least one class. The ones who took the leap? They report, on average, a 28 percent reduction in their stress levels, a 20 percent improvement in sleep quality and a 19 percent reduction in pain. As as added bonus: employees are more productive and have gained an average of 62 minutes of productivity per week.
If you’re still not convinced, every single class offered on the Aetna campus is overbooked.
I expect exercise and meditation to improve stress and sleep – but productivity?! I think that might be the best part. Who can complain about an extra 62 minutes of high quality productivity?
Do you find meditation useful? Could you imagine working in an office were yoga and meditation were offered and encouraged? What is one of the unintended benefits of meditation/exercise that you’ve experienced?