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Meditation in Wall Street

Close-up of several people, dressed in white, meditating with their eyes closed and arms over their head.

You’ve no doubt heard of meditation and have a passing knowledge about some of its benefits, but did you know that it’s become all the rage around the Manhattan apartments? That’s the latest news, according to Business Insider, who says that, in recent years, the practice has taken hold in Silicon Valley and Wall Street, fuelled by apps like Headspace that help new practitioners get acquainted with the basics:

“Silicon Valley executives like Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey are going on Buddhist meditation retreats, high-end spas in big cities are installing "meditation pods," meditation app Headspace has raised $75 million, and each year hundreds of Wall Streeters are following Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio's lead and paying almost $1,000 to learn Transcendental Meditation.”

Could they be onto something? What secrets might meditation hold that you don’t yet realize? Those are exactly the kinds of questions we’re going to be tackling today, as we explore the positive effects of meditation and how you can start incorporating it into your daily routine without even breaking a sweat.

What Is Meditation and How Does It Help?

It might be easy to dismiss the idea of meditation as a wellness fad that ebbs and flows with the times, but in truth, the practice has traditional roots in nearly every religious ideology known to man. You can find references to it in Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, but don’t think that means it’s strictly a form of religious expression. In a secular context, meditation is still a powerful tool:

“There are a number of different things that people can do to alter their states of consciousness, from practicing hypnosis to using psychoactive drugs to taking a nap...Meditation is also a consciousness-changing technique that has been shown to have a wide number of benefits on psychological well-being.”

So, how does meditation affect your consciousness? According to Psychology Today, it’s all about eliminating distractions and staying in the present:

“Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference. It can involve focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase known as a mantra. In other words, meditation means turning your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment.”

It might seem, at first, that this is but a small benefit. Research, however, shows that the effects go much deeper than keeping you in the present, as meditation can:

  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Decrease your sensitivity to pain
  • Combat inflammation
  • Promote positive emotions
  • Lower your level of depression
  • Decrease feelings of anxiety
  • Reduce your stress levels
  • Make you more socially and emotionally intelligent
  • Give you greater compassion
  • Alleviate feelings of loneliness
  • Allow you to regulate your emotions better
  • Make you more introspective
  • Boost grey matter in the brain
  • Supercharge those positive emotions
  • Let you focus and pay attention at a greater level
  • Help you multitask like a pro
  • Increase your memory
  • Grant a boost to your creativity
  • Promote wisdom

In particular, the fact that meditation can help make you more positive in your thinking is a great benefit for just about anyone. According to the research, this is part of why meditation can make you more resilient and capable in taking on the challenges life throws your way. The owner of a healthy mind, they say, is one who can shrug off the slings and arrows of the day to day, becoming more resistant to disease, more robust in the amount of work they can tackle, and better equipped to be a helpful human.

Perhaps that’s the reason why the Wall Street and Silicon Valley types have turned to it, at least for the moment? They’ve a reputation for deliberately inserting themselves in high-stress situations, so a measure of calm might be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Making Meditation Work for You

So you want to start working meditation into your daily routine? First you should know that there are two main types of meditation to engage in: concentrative meditation and mindfulness meditation.

Concentrative meditation is what the quote from Psychology Today was alluding to, where you focus your attention on one specific thing (a phrase, holding your breath, etc.) in an effort to tune out everything else that’s going on around you.

In mindfulness meditation, you’ll make yourself aware of specific issues, like depression, and work towards stress reduction and other cognitive improvements that can help tackle said issues. Your focus might change, but overall, you’re still trying to keep yourself in the present moment.

As for getting started, those apps, like Headspace, can provide a nice jumping off point if you’re interested, but you don’t necessarily need them if you want to test the waters on your own. You can begin by just picking out a comfortable section of your living space, sitting down, and getting in the mood.

Start with a half-minute of silence to set the tone, then repeat your concentration word, or mantra, focusing on that the exclusion of all else. Don’t worry about your breathing, and let those other thoughts that will jump in from time to time just roll on by you. Carry on this way for about 20 minutes, allowing a few minutes at the end for you to sit without repeating your mantra. Repeat twice daily, and see where you go from there.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try meditating when you hop on the subway, says Dr. Jonathan Kaplan; just make sure the train is clear of anyone acting drunk or erratically before you give it a shot, though!

The Manhattan Apartments Provide a Great Space for Getting in the Meditative Mood

If you’re looking for the perfect setting to clear your mind, you needn’t look further than serene apartment communities like 15 Cliff. Here, where the living spaces have been perfectly designed for top-tier comfort, is where you can find your happy place. Check out all that this modern complex has to offer, and make this your new space for a more mindful, fulfilling existence among the downtown renaissance today.