Employees have a lot on their minds these days, but taking a little time for self-care can help them move through their day with a clear head.
Carson Finkle is the founder of Create Meditation. He leads employees through breathwork sessions and guided meditations set to music to help employees find their zen and improve their well-being. But employees don't need to commit hours of time to this practice — instead, they can see results in about six seconds.
"The optimal breathing rate for humans is five-and-a-half seconds in and five-and-a-half seconds out," Finkle says. "When we breathe at that rate, it's signaling to our body that we're in homeostasis — that we're relaxed, we're calm, we're safe."
The simple practice of breathing calms down the body, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Studies have shown that meditation has physical benefits, too: it can reduce inflammation and chronic pain, as well as reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
While people are often daunted by the thought of meditating, employees at every level can benefit from the time to reset and recenter. The holistic benefits will trickle down from the top, especially for business owners and leaders who consistently put themselves at the bottom of their priority list, Finkle says.
"Think about a champagne tower: if you're the top glass, when you choose to fill your own cup, it's going to overflow and flow into the cups closest in your life," he says. "When the CEO fills up their cup, it's going to flow to their executives, and then to the managers and direct reports and to the customers. Making sure your cup is full will take care of the people around you, while reducing turnover rates and improving employee engagement."
With Create Meditation, Finkle starts by helping employees get in touch with their mind and body, by setting an intention and then visualizing a nature setting that will help activate their five senses. Then, he spends the next 30 minutes on breathing techniques, set to a soundtrack of music that culminates to a "yell song" where employees can "really let go," Finkle says.
"It's an amazing physical release — our bodies store so much physical and emotional trauma and this is an amazing way just to help release that and let that go," he says. "We put so many self-imposed limiting beliefs on ourselves, so we just go for it to blast through those beliefs and open up a mindset that we can create anything we want."
Finally, participants wind down to reach a state of relaxation, where people can find clarity on what they want to accomplish with their careers or in their personal lives.
"I think a lot of people come home from work and they're with their family, but their mind's still at work," Finkle says. "You need to have the mental freedom to be present and to be in the moment with whatever you're doing."
These tactics can be put to use ahead of a stressful work scenario like a meeting or presentation, or just when employees need to step back and reprioritize, Finkle says. Whether it's putting on calming music, or practicing "box breathing," where you breathe in, hold the breath, and breathe out in a five-second cadence, or even plan a group walk, a little can go a long way.
"The breath is the gateway to the present moment, and when we are more present, we don't feel the impulse to constantly be crushing our to-do list," Finkle says. "Just start with two minutes — if you're feeling stressed, pull out that stopwatch. Whatever you can do to make it easy, fun and a group thing can go a long way."