Oct 10 2013 Basis Team Blog Workplace Culture Can Meditation Help Slow the Digital Media Crazy Train? We’re lucky to work in such an innovative and fast-paced industry. However, because the pace of change can seem relentless, we need to make time to rejuvenate and re-inspire ourselves. There is perhaps no other industry more deadline-driven and tied to the clock than digital advertising. If you have served on the front lines (particularly on the planning and buying side), it’s safe to say you are regularly asked to deliver the impossible: “…by COB.” “No actually, I’m presenting that to the client COB. I’ll need it by lunch.” Turnaround times are always speeding up, while the endless options of everything from publishers, to tactics, targeting abilities and terms & conditions keeps expanding. A 1997 landmark study on stress and heart disease surveyed over 7,400 employees. Their findings were shocking. Employees who felt they had little control over deadlines imposed by other people had a 50% higher risk of coronary heart disease than their counterparts. The bottom line: feeling a lack of control over pressure at work ranks right alongside high blood pressure as a risk factor for heart disease. How do we slow down this crazy train enough to create the type of (happy, relaxed) environment that drives innovation? Centro’s wellness team recently launched a company-wide meditation program called The Pause. The Pause is extremely simple, but when factored into our gadget-obsessed and lightning-fast industry, it may be considered downright radical! Here’s how it works: 1. At the same time each day, all employees are encouraged to take 15 minutes of “company-sanctioned silence” to Pause. During this time it is recommended to power-down, sit in silence and just breathe. 2. Since our work requires us to be connected via numerous channels and inputs throughout the day, there is a calming benefit to unplugging. Even 15 minutes can create a calm, steady focus for the rest of the afternoon. 3. As our company continually upgrades our work space, planning will also include rooms solely dedicated to expanding our meditation and mindfulness practice. 4. We’re committed to providing ongoing support for all employees in deepening their meditation or mindfulness practice. Centro worked with New York Times Bestselling author and Buddhist meditation teacher Susan Piver to produce this 2-minute getting started tutorial. Each day, Susan mobilizes over 10,000 meditation practitioners worldwide through her site, The Open Heart Project. Click here to view the video. About Meditation and Mindfulness Mindfulness and meditation have been practiced across many cultures for thousands of years. Psychological and physical benefits include: stress reduction, better sleep, decreases in depression, increased creativity, improved working memory, better focus, less emotional reactivity and increased satisfaction in interpersonal relationships. A 2009 study examined how meditation affected participant’s ability to focus attention and resist distracting information. Experienced meditation practitioners were found to have significantly better performance on all measures of attention. Meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness are directly correlated to cognitive flexibility and attentive functioning. Both of these factors greatly reduce stress, as well as increase creativity and innovation. At Centro, we believe in the wellness of our employees and we encourage meditation because we feel it will help them become better versions of themselves at work and outside of it. What works for you? How do you maintain a sense of calm and balance in this fast-paced industry? We’d love to hear from you.