I’d like to say that meditation can help everyone. maybe not everything out there can work for everybody. But I’ve seen this stuff change skeptics into believers after some simple breathing techniques gave them quick, obvious benefits in their lives.
I have a client that I will call Ralph. Ralph is a proud father of a 6 year old and a 4 month old. Ralph works for a large pharmaceutical company and he and his wife enjoy working on their house in South Carolina. Recently he has been extra stressed. His four month old does not sleep through the night yet, his quarterly review is approaching quickly and he has a big interview for a huge promotion coming up. When he contacted me he told me, “I’m not into all that meditation stuff, but I need to try to relax somehow.” I excitedly told him he had come to the right place.
Ralph had unconsciously for a long time been taking short shallow breaths into his chest. I taught him to breathe through his diaphragm and to become conscious of his breathes. After he got the basics down, we practiced a couple techniques that he could use at work, in the car or around the house. I told him I preferred he try to do a formal meditation practice for at least 7-10 minutes at night or in the morning, but not to worry if he couldn’t. Alleviating stress during the actual situations was the more important thing for Ralph.
About a week later I sent Ralph an email to see how he was doing. Ralph wrote that although he felt good after our session, he had not practiced any of the techniques until one Sunday night. He had been working hard to make his quarterly goals before the review and preparing for his interview. This particular Sunday night he was up late stressed, frustrated and not able to be productive. His wife casually suggested to him to “try the techniques that Malcolm had showed you”. So Ralph went into his study and began using several different breathing techniques. He said after about 15 minutes he felt calm and relaxed and was able to put in a solid, productive 2 hours of work before bed.
Later in the week Ralph sent me a message. He used the techniques I taught him and went into the interview relaxed and focused. He did such a good job that he is now up for an even higher position!! I was happy for Ralph and at our next session he was eager to learn more, he said, “hey, who knew this stuff really works.”
It still amazes me, this stuff can even work if you don’t really believe in it. But if you keep an open mind and give it a shot, it sure can’t hurt. Who knows, maybe it’ll help you get a new job.