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Why We Should Nudge Employees Toward Trying Meditation

As the pandemic lingers, companies should deploy any mental health resources for their employees- including a means to embrace meditation during the day.
By Leon Kaye

Among the many reasons why we’ve heard so much about the “Great Resignation” this year is that employees who became fed up with their workplaces have cited the need to take care of their mental health first and foremost. Add the fact that this summer we saw athletes including Simone Biles decide that athletic mega-events be damned, they were going to take care of themselves.

So, 18-plus months into this pandemic, here’s the stubborn truth: If your company has not invested in additional mental health resources, or at a minimum outlined the options available as part of existing benefits packages, then your human resources department is at a minimum disturbingly negligent.

But no matter what your company’s available resources or your personal finances may be, there is a compelling option to consider even if you are not capitalizing on any mental health resources at hand: meditation.

How you go about exploring the benefits of meditation are up to you. Find a trusted resource such as a friend or valued colleague, or check out the various apps, YouTube videos or books on the subject.

But if the HR department is scratching its collective head and asking around about any new potential employee benefits, an all-inclusive meditation app should be in the cards.

Recently, my healthcare plan gave me full access to the Calm app. Long story short, all the chill pills I had consumed in my adult life were not doing the trick. Plus, recent events led to what the doctors said was far too much anxiety for the human body and brain to handle. Among the suggestions for treatment was a full subscription to the Calm app.

While I had understood there are benefits to practices such as yoga and meditation, I was skeptical at first — probably because I’ve binged on far too many episodes of Ab Fab and recent Netflix series to take them seriously. But a few weeks into harnessing Calm, I can see that it has made a difference. There’s something to be said about decompressing at any point during the day and focusing on one’s inner self.

Part of the infatuation I have with Calm is the slight boy crush I’ve developed on Tamara Levitt, who narrates many of the sessions available on Calm — all of which are designed to help reduce stress, fall asleep, reflect on the day ahead or, of course, hone the ability to embrace meditation and completely unplug. It's also well-designed, easy to use and offers many options for listening at any point during the day.

Like any app, Calm has its own strengths and weaknesses that depend on the user. Listening to bedtime stories read by the likes of Regé-Jean Page and Idris Elba turned out to be more of a thirst trap and less of an effective means to fall asleep. Nevertheless, at a bare minimum, there’s something to be said about taking the time out to concentrate on your breathing, and while it’s not easy for many of us to turn off those negative thoughts, it’s worthwhile learning to relegate them as passing thoughts instead of letting them linger.

As we’re starting, here’s a fair question: What can be the toughest part of engaging in meditation? It’s the scheduling. Begin by tucking a daily entry into your calendar. It’s up to you whether you want to allow it to be set as “public,” or set it as private if you’d rather avoid any nosy inquiries. And make sure it’s clear that it’s not something a colleague can schedule over — this bit of time, even if only 10 to 15 minutes daily, is necessary because you’re worth it.

At a time when the news surrounding us is adding even more uncertainty and worry, a line item for a service such as a meditation app on the company ledger is a valuable investment. Try out several of them and decide on one that can offer employees that quick yet much-needed break from the daily virtual or in-office routine.

Image credit: Bob Osias/Unsplash

Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye