It’s estimated that as many as 70 percent of our daily thoughts will skew negative. And with the added stress and anxiety associated with entrepreneurship, demanding startup schedules, or just a tough month at work, it’s easy to get lost in that negativity and arrive at burnout. To combat stress in the workplace, an Atlanta-based duo built Welzen, a meditation app that caters to the corporate world.
Welzen was founded in 2016 by Beatriz and Esteban Gonzalez, who both saw personal benefits from meditation. “I think there is a misconception that meditation is sitting in weird, uncomfortable silence for an hour,” Beatriz said. “We’re striving to change that.”
To make it more accessible, the Welzen team developed a variety of short, digestible meditation tracks associated with different moods or outcomes. For corporate clients, they offer workshops and classes on meditation. Once a company is set up on the app, it can pull data from individuals on a team or department into dashboards for managers to get a view of how people are feeling, giving them insight into whether workplace stress is high or low.
Whether you’re looking to respond better to stress, relieve anxiety or depression, or just get some quality sleep, meditation can offer you a potential drug-free solution.
“What’s exciting is research is validating what the ancient practice has been about for so many centuries,” Lena Franklin, a psychotherapist and Welzen’s head of content, said, adding that mindfulness practices such as less judgement is helpful for careers as well. “Mindfulness produces better work by increasing productivity, creativity and better focus.”
So, ready to get started? Here are three steps to break into meditation.
When proponents of the practice start saying things like, “Meditation is better than morning coffee,” it can be easy to swing hard in opposition. Maybe you have something of a gut response like, “You can pry this coffee from my cold, un-meditative hands.” However, the alleged benefits of meditation will never come to you if you’re not at least trying. Luckily, you don’t have to also dive into activities like aligning your chakras, tracking your horoscope, or burning incense to banish negative energy.
Welzen encounters plenty of skeptics, but many open up their minds. Lena recalls an overworked consultant who knew he had to do something about his anxiety and depression. He was skeptical of meditation, but embraced the program fully, committing to 10 minutes per day and following through on it. He saw results in weeks, and brought the practice to his team at work.
“He has transformed the way his team interfaces with their work,” Lena said. “They’re more productive and more bonded [with each other].”
Be Consistent in Practice
The consultant was a special, type-A case for meditation who was able to follow through on a big commitment to meditation up front. It’s rare that anyone is so consistent from the very beginning. But Lena alleges consistency is really key to reap the benefits, with many people noticing a shift in two weeks and real results in eight weeks.
“Since I re-gained the habit, I see differently,” Beatriz said.”I’m more appreciative and grateful. I try not to judge people so much. It changed me big time through a lot of little ways.”
Make Your Practice Work For You
For a non-meditator, establishing the habit of meditation is going to be hard enough, so avoid creating additional obstacles like scheduling meditations for 30 minutes at 5:30 a.m. Beatriz recommends getting up just five minutes earlier and using that time. There’s also the option of using mini-meditations during the day before meetings or stressful conversation, or just taking breaks to breathe throughout the workday.
While evaluating how to best fit meditation into your life is important, it may also be worth reconsidering your idea of what success looks like and how that fits into the life you want.
“I think we’re attached to this story that we have to push ourselves to the max and be exhausted,” Lena said about the idea of success. “We need to redefine what it means to have power, because there’s so much power in being present.”
Through meditation and mindfulness, Lena says people can excavate a different kind of power.
“Mindfulness is a way to gain control of our inner life,” Lena said. “This world can feel chaotic, but when we have a tangible way to enhance our moods, thoughts, and energy, we open up a greater human capacity. It’s becoming a fundamental skill.”
This article was brought to you by WeWork. WeWork provides refreshing workspace, powerful community, and meaningful business services to forward-thinking companies around the world. Learn more about how WeWork can help support your entrepreneurial endeavor in Atlanta today.