TIME Magazine – Feb. 10, 2003

“How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body”

There are so many studies confirming the health benefits of meditation that it’s a wonder it isn’t as universal as brushing our teeth.

Business Week – July 28, 2003

For Dave Jakubowski, vice-president of business development for Internet service provider United Online, Inc… logs 18-hour days to help his Westlake Village (Calif.)-based company hit its quarterly sales targets of around $8 million. How to cope? Jakubowski is no breathe-like-a-tree kind of guy. “I’m in business,” he says, “and I need results.” So he recently turned to a mat and 60 minutes of silence. “It’s amazing,” he says of his new meditation practice. “I’m able to sort through work challenges in this state of calm much faster than trying to fight through it. And I make fewer mistakes.”

Companies increasingly are falling for the allure of meditation, too, offering free, on-site classes. They’re being won over, in part, by findings at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Massachusetts, and the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard University that meditation enhances the qualities companies need most from their knowledge workers: increased brain-wave activity, enhanced intuition, better concentration, and the alleviation of the kinds of aches and pains that plague employees most.

It doesn’t hurt that meditation has some high-profile corporate disciples, including bond-fund king William H. Gross, of Newport Beach (Calif.)’s Pacific Investment Management Co., who often meditates with yoga before a day of trading at his $349 billion money-management firm. Tech outfits like Apple Computer, Yahoo!, and Google, which already offers an organic chef and an on-site masseuse, are also signing up. So are white-shoe, Old Economy outfits like consulting firm McKinsey, Deutsche Bank, and Hughes Aircraft.

There are no hard numbers on how many companies have added meditation benefits, but the anecdotal evidence is mounting. And it’s no surprise that more employers are seeking a new corporate balm. The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health finds that stress-related ailments cost companies about $200 billion a year in increased absenteeism, tardiness, and the loss of talented workers. Between 70% to 90% of employee hospital visits are linked to stress. And job tension is directly tied to a lack of productivity and loss of competitive edge…

Sometimes meditation classes are offered as a gesture of thanks for a job well done. Consider AOL Time Warner Inc., where the sales and marketing group was reduced from 850 to 500 people three years ago. Meditation classes were incorporated to help employees deal with the new 12-hour days.

Other companies have added classes to help break up the drudgery of day-long meetings. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals in Wilmington, Del., now offers three meditation courses aimed at energizing its 5,000 employees during and after marathon powwows. “We usually had a coffee and a Danish on our meeting breaks and would go right into a sugar slump,” says spokeswoman Lorraine Ryan.

Statistics on Stress:

According to a survey of 800,000 workers in over 300 companies, the number of employees calling in sick because of stress tripled from 1996 to 2000.  An estimated one million workers are absent every day due to stress.  Unanticipated absenteeism is estimated to cost American companies $602.00/worker/year and the price tag for large employers could approach $3.5 million annually.

( The American Institute of Stress)

80% of workers feel stress on the job; nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.

( 2000 annual “ Attitudes In The American Workplace V” Gallup Poll sponsored by the Marlin Company)

There are more errors at work because of stress according to 42% of workers. (Results of a Harris Interactive poll of working adults nationwide, May-June 2004 – reported in the Boston Globe 6/11/04)

The total health and productivity cost of worker stress to American business is estimated at $50 to $150 billion annually. (Sauter, S.L.; Murphy, L.R.; and Hurrell, Jr., J.J. (1990) Prevention of work-related psychological disorders. American Psychologist. 45(10):1146-1153)

TIME Magazine – Nov. 01, 1999

“Healthy Profits”

At 5:30 P.M., as he often does around this time, Bob Martin, 47, is standing on his head. Martin has just finished another frenzied day as a patent attorney at Hewlett-Packard’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters, but instead of plunging into rush-hour traffic, he has descended one flight of stairs to the company’s yoga studio.

Andrew Weil, M.D (bestselling author on health)

“Another simple intervention I often recommend is breath work. Breath control is the most powerful method I have found to reduce anxiety, even in its most severe form of panic disorder. I have found it is impossible to be anxious while breathing deeply, slowly, quietly and regularly. Breathing exercises derived from yoga are even more effective.”

TIME Magazine – Jan. 20, 2003

“How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body”

Studies have shown that meditation can reduce hardening of the arteries…People suffering from anxiety disorders also appreciate the lowered stress, reduced blood pressure and slowed heart rates associated with meditation. Similarly, there is growing evidence that meditation can have a positive sustained effect on chronic pain and mood, including depression and anxiety…In one study, meditating 15 minutes twice daily, reduced physicians visits over a two month period saved the healthcare system $200 a patient.”

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