NEW YORK — For today’s high-powered, high-stressed professionals, short moments of “purposeful pause” can lead to a more balanced, healthier life, a panel of experts told the audience at “The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power,” conference Thursday.
Speaking during a discussion on the “mind/body connection” moderated by television talk show host Katie Couric, a panel including a physician, a former corporate lawyer-turned-mindfulness teacher, and a psychologist and celebrity mental health scholar, explained how well-being, stress and emotion regulation, and physical health are connected
“Simply notice that you are breathing,” Janice Marturano, founder and executive director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, told audience members, guiding them in a short meditation exercise to explain how being “in the moment” can reduce stress and create better workplace relationships. “Simply notice the place in your body where you feel the sensation … as the breath enters and leaves the body.”
Simple acts like meditative breathing exercises, which can be traced to Vipassana Buddhist practice, don’t only reduce stress, but have proven physiological benefits, said Mark Hyman, a physician who founded the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Mass.
“If you really knew what was happening to you when you’re stressed, you would freak out. It’s not pretty,” said Hyman, noting that increased stress leads to weight gain, decreased testosterone in men and more “bad” cholesterol.
Meditation and mindfulness techniques, meanwhile, have been proven to lead to decreased stress and better health, Hyman and other panelists noted. “Stress, it’s automatic, it finds you, you don’t have to go find it,” Hyman said. “The problem with relaxation and mindfulness is that it’s hard work.”
Donna Rockwell, psychologist and celebrity mental health expert, said one reason meditation is effective is because it rewires the mind.