Corporate wellness insights

Athletes Zone in to Mindfulness for Calm (and So Can We!)

Posted by Matthew on 01.13.2017

When we think of workplace wellness, most of us envision something like our own offices. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned after more than a decade providing wellness programs, it’s that there is no such thing as a “typical” office. We’ve worked with mining companies, law firms, national hotel chains, and everything in between.

If you’re looking for an unexpected example of wellness, check out this Times article. It discusses how Phil Jackson, the president of the New York Knicks, regularly leads his basketball players through mindfulness exercises.

This season’s mindfulness training began in September, during training camp. The team tries to have one each week if they’re playing at home. Before they watch game tapes, everyone gathers in the film room for a mindfulness session that can last as long as 15 minutes.

Our health coaches have done something similar for or own employees, and it’s extremely helpful—especially during busy times.

Mindfulness is apparently nothing new to Jackson, nicknamed the “Zen Master” for his famed utilization of meditation and other non-traditional methods to support and motivate his players. He introduced meditation to his Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls champion teams in the 1990s.

Mindfulness in Every Workplace

It may seem non-traditional to most, but mindfulness, visualization, and other calming techniques are being used in a variety of industries, including professional sports and business. In their book Crunch Time, former Major League pitching coach Rick Peterson and business consultant Judd Hoekstra discuss what they call reframing: “the skill of consciously thinking about a situation in a new or different way to change how you interpret the situation, the actions you take, and the results you achieve.”

The book begins with a scene from Peterson’s Moneyball-era past. As a coach for the Oakland A’s, Peterson sees that his relief pitcher lacks confidence in a playoff game against the New York Yankees. With no time to waste, Peterson walks to the mound and teaches the young man how to reframe the situation to his advantage. The tactic works; the pitcher relaxes and gets his team out of a jam.

Mindfulness, meditation, reframing. Professional athletes use these techniques every day to maintain focus and manage stress in tough situations, so why not your employees? If you’re interested in bringing health coaching and stress management to your office, drop us a line. We’ll be happy to help.