In June, some of the Michael Hyatt & Company team signed up for our first month-long mindfulness challenge. Folks meditated every day and reported back in a special Slack channel on what worked and didn’t work for them, and whether or not they found it worthwhile.
You might wonder why we would do this as an organization and if it was a success.
Why We Did It
We undertook the challenge for two reasons. First, Enneagram expert Ian Cron ran a personal development seminar for our entire company at the end of May. He introduced the practice to us, briefly demonstrated it, and suggested we try it out on a larger scale to see if we find it useful.
His challenge became our challenge.
Second, there is a growing body of scientific literature that suggests regular meditation can do great things for people. Here are four likely benefits of meditation, according to researchers:
- It reduces anxiety. Meditation tends to reduce the inner chatter that contributes to our anxiety. Even short periods of meditation have delivered lasting benefits for people with anxiety disorders, and would likely benefit those of us who just suffer from regular jitters.
It boosts your focus and attention. Both of these things are in short supply on the job these days and in danger of fragmentation from multitasking and social media. Fortunately, researchers have found that “mindfulness training” likely improves “attention-related behavioral responses” by boosting our ability to focus.
It grows your gray matter. Researchers had expected to find maybe a slight uptick in gray matter in select areas of our brains among folks who regularly meditate. Instead, they are finding “significantly larger gray matter volumes” all over the place.
It helps with pain management. In fact, after just four days of meditation, one study found the unpleasantness and intensity of pain were reduced by 57 and 40 percent, respectively.
This list represents only a few of the observed benefits of meditation according to science. Psychology Today has compiled a much longer list here.
What It Did for My Team
We don’t have any metrics yet, but in the rubber-meets-the road-test most of my teammates who took the challenge are still meditating regularly. We asked if any of those folks who took the challenge would like to share their experience. Here’s some of their feedback:
- Our Copywriter Anna McKenzie said that by meditating regularly she “started to understand how noisy my mind actually was, and how I had been allowing cycles (and spirals) of unproductive thoughts to foster anxiety.” Anna said that after she got used to it, she saw that “silent meditation sets me up to listen to God, get clear, and become more self-aware. It offers relief from my internal monologue so I can reset my perspective.”
Executive Support Director Suzie Barbour was skeptical at first. She thought meditation was “silly and just not for me.” But she “decided to give it a try.” She said it was hard with two toddlers running around, but she kept at it and now finds herself “really craving the peace that even a few minutes of mindfulness bring.”
Our Human Resources Manager Danielle Rodgers said the best thing about meditation was that it reminded her of the “wonderful art of remembering to breathe.” Well after the challenge has passed, Danielle often takes “time to breathe deep breaths in the morning after my devotions and prayer time while the house is still quiet, even if only for a moment or two, and the results are priceless.”
If You Want to Do It
The meditation that most of my team tried for a month was a kind of mindfulness meditation. If you want to try that or any other kind of meditation for a month, here is a good place to get started.