“There is an ancient saying that the sense of a vessel is not in its shell but in the void. So it is with this room. It is for those who come here to fill the void with what they find in their center of stillness.”
I recently was on a ten minute break and ran into a co-worker who was standing in the hallway rubbing their forehead, trying to massage away their stress and control the blood pressure that was increasing by the second. I looked at them and said “Wooohssaa”. My co-worker looked back at me like I was crazy and asked me to repeat myself. “Woosah — calm down, take a minute, breathe.” Or at least that what it meant on Bad Boys 2. If it was in a Will Smith movie, it must be true.
In the everyday hustle and bustle of life, we are constantly trying to find a way to get off the hamster wheel to breathe, even if it is only for a second. Your day starts at 6am, you get yourself and your family ready for the day, and you go to work prepared to face whatever happens. You spend hours being pulled in sixteen different directions by twenty-four different people, with deadlines to meet and meetings to be had and clients that want it all and they want it yesterday. And then you have lunch and repeat it all again in the afternoon. You may put in forty hours that week, or you may put in ninety hours that week. Who knows? One thing is for sure – the rat race that may be great for your career is definitely not so great for your health.
Doctors and health officials highly recommend that we decrease stress in our lives. Stress puts us at risk for heart problems, mental health issues, digestive disorders, lowered immune systems – it all ties together with your state of mind. But mediation and relaxation – even just a few minutes a day – has been proven to increase your ability to fight off illness and increase your endorphins. Endorphins are those invisible neurotransmitters that tell your brain that you’re happy. The more endorphins you produce, the happier and less stressed you’ll be in the future. In other words, actively working to reduce your current stress levels will cause you to experience less stress later on. And less stress means happier employees. Studies have shown that employees who keep stress to a minimum take less sick time, have increased productivity, and statistically have fewer errors in their work.
Many corporations have started to notice the benefits of stress-free employees. Apple, Google, Nike, and HBO are just a few of the mega-conglomerates who are encouraging their workers to take life easier and pace themselves. These companies have done everything from relaxing their dress codes, to encouraging job sharing, to opening entertainment rooms and letting their workers take an hour here and there for some TV time. Some have even added mediation and relaxation rooms to their office space, complete with mediation consultants who will work with the employees on stress-reducing techniques. You only need to look at what these corporations are producing – both in terms of product and profit – to see the results.
There is so much information out there about the benefits of having relaxed and calm employees in the workplace and how this can benefit to both our companies and workers. So why are so many of us still stressed out to the point that we’re missing out on our personal lives because we can’t step back from the office? My advice: Lock yourself in a bathroom stall for 5 minutes and Woosahhh. Trust me – you will feel much better.