You’ve got an important meeting or presentation, or are about to step into an interview. Your palms are sweaty, your heart rate is up, you’re feeling a little restless and can’t help feeling a little nervous. You walk into the room and begin to deliver. What is your body language saying? How well are you communicating? Is your memory working properly? Are you developing a rapport with your audience?
Quite often, the answer to many of the latter questions is ‘no.’ Modern life is so demanding and so overstimulating that our nervous system is constantly on the threshold of stress. And when you have deadlines, important meetings, interviews or presentations, the nervous system gets easily triggered into a stress response
The problem is, when we’re stressed, vital cognitive functions begin shutting down. We lose our ability to think laterally and creatively. The hippocampus in our brain begins shutting down, dampening our memory function. The Pre-frontal cortex begins shutting down, inhibiting our ability to think clearly and rationally, and to organise information.
Shut down of this essential part of your brain, also causes defensiveness, and an inability to relate in meaningful ways. We may find ourselves unable to listen properly, impatient, unforgiving of other’s responses and all manner of issues which negate our effectiveness in these kinds of situations.
In addition, when there is adrenaline in our system, we may fidget, we may wring our hands, our leg may start shaking in a nervous jitter, and other manifestations of the stress response may ruin our attempts to seem cool, calm and collected!
Your body also starts sweating to try and rid itself of unnecessary water, which is useful when you’re trying to run away from tigers, which is the original cause of this response, but not so useful when you’re trying to impress colleagues, clients and potential new bosses.
You also begin secreting lots of stress hormones, most notably cortisol, which spreads out in a six-foot cloud all around you. The problem is, these hormones get ingested by the people you are with, and it starts putting them on edge.
In tandem with this, when you feel edgy, or nervous, it affects the electromagnetic field around you with a radius of about eight feet. This affects the electromagnetic field of the people who are within your radius and quite often translates in causing the electromagnetic functioning of their brain to become more edgy and nervous.
These two phenomena combined can leave the people you’re in the room with feeling uncomfortable in your presence, and uncertain about your capabilities, even if what is coming out of your mouth is absolutely top drawer.
How does Vedic meditation help?
Vedic meditation gets to the heart of the matter by ensuring that you have much greater resilience to stress and anxiety. As a result, you don’t get so ruffled by challenging situations including making presentations or doing interviews.
The part of your brain that is so reactive to such situations starts to become what’s known as ‘functionally less active,’ meaning that any stress you feel tends to be more productive (i.e. getting you moving in serious situations). The by-product of this is that you don’t experience the cognitive shutdown that otherwise besets those who are prone to stress. Your memory becomes sharper, you can think clearly and rationally, and you can perform to your best.
Indeed, as a tactical tool, this meditation is absolutely fabulous for doing shortly before you go into your meeting. It helps bring such clarity and poise.
Within a few months of practice, the meditation will actually begin to enhance your cognitive functions. Doing this practice activates your pre-frontal cortex (PFC) so that your executive, creative and interpersonal functions become more dextrous. Not only does it become more active, your PFC actually grows thicker. The hippocampus begins growing larger, meaning that your memory functions become superior to what they were before meditation. Indeed a recent study showed that our students outperformed participants from all of the meditation test groups on working memory tests.
This meditation also tends to deliver greater levels of confidence and self-esteem, meaning that you’re not just talking the talk, you are walking the walk. Your energy and radiance and good vibes will rub off on your audience. Your non-verbal communication, which plays such a huge role in convincing people, will tend to be much more convincing.
In every way, it is a tool for performing your best.
What's the proof?
Vedic meditation has been shown to reduce your levels of the stress hormone cortisol by an average of 33%.
Vedic meditation also has a particularly pronounced effect on anxiety levels, with studies demonstrating that it is 250% more effective at reducing anxiety than any other technique.