The goal of the Executive Mind class is to teach students to pay attention — to what's happening around them as well as to emotions arising within them — so that they can react more skillfully in any situation. That awareness can help budding managers motivate difficult employees and tackle work challenges without becoming scattered, frustrated or worn down.
Although meditation has ancient roots, modern scientific research on its effects has mushroomed over the last decade. There are now hundreds of published studies showing that the adult brain is actually quite malleable and can be rewired for more happiness and calm.
Research on the brains of meditators has documented neuron growth in the hippocampus — which is involved in learning, memory and emotional control — and the right anterior insula, believed to be involved in awareness. Studies using functional MRIs have recorded change in other parts of the brain as well after just eight weekly mindfulness classes and daily practice averaging just 27 minutes.
That's important, because many scientists have concluded that our brains are largely wired to avoid danger. So a scolding by the boss or getting passed over for a promotion triggers parts of the brain that give rise to fear and anger. Getting to the good stuff like creativity, empathy and teamwork requires engaging other parts of the brain, but that can happen only if employees feel secure.