When I was attending my meditation certification intensive, my teacher worked with a group of middle managers from a national manufacturing company. The company had approached her because these men were literally dying on the job from stress-related illnesses. While working with this unlikely group of meditators during a week long wellness seminar in Sedona, my teacher reported that the men were taking to the practice with enthusiasm. Some even had profound experiences. She also said that they were concerned about how they would be able to keep their practice going once they got back to their plants, knowing they simply couldn't do it without her voice to guide them. How would they keep up their new practice without her? It's a problem so many teachers face once students are no longer in the meditation room and go off to try to establish a practice on their own. The idea for my company, CalmCircle, was inspired by these hardworking men trying to find time to meditate in their hectic schedules.
Our first major workplace test showed that employees who had the benefit of the program were more productive and efficient and reported a positive change in their attitude and relationship with stress. Gratified to know that the program was successful, we began to expand our vision to consider other populations that may have a need for this type of mental training.
"The 2015 American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment reflects the alarming percentage of college students who face anxiety, depression, sadness, exhaustion, and a feeling of being overwhelmed."
We visited a recovery program at a large Texas university. These were students who were in active recovery from addiction and needed extra support in order to stay in school. Their counselors were very interested in a way to deliver a meditative practice as part of their program in such a way that the students would have ongoing support available to them between counseling sessions.
We spoke with a campus counselor whose non-profit organization conducted school workshops on suicide prevention, a training that's now mandatory in Texas schools. She stated that counselors knew that a meditative practice would be very valuable to students of all ages but they had never found a way to deliver that practice. In our meetings, they discussed the need for all college students to learn this type of stress management as a preventative approach, citing how many freshmen left college after only a few weeks each year, being unable to manage the stress that had so quickly become unmanageable.
The 2015 American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment reflects the alarming percentage of college students who face anxiety, depression, sadness, exhaustion, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. As a result, students often feel out of control and out of touch with their own emotions. And so CalmCircle expanded its reach to include CalmCircleCollege with a mission to provide techniques and skills to create mental rest, relaxation, and stress relief to help students succeed at school and lead healthier, happier lives.
"Since I have seen firsthand the impact of stress in the workplace, I think the idea of helping students learn to manage stress and sleep better before they join the workforce is a perfect match for the goals of my company."
When asked if CalmCircle would be interested in participating in the #sleeprevolution College Tour with the Huffington Post in support of Arianna Huffington's new book, The Sleep Revolution, it was easy to accept, knowing it was time to build a CalmCircle program that would be designed to meet the unique needs of today's college student. Arianna wants to launch her book on college campuses because she believes them to be among the most sleep-deprived people in the country. It's also valuable to educate students about this type of self-care before they join the workforce. Since I have seen firsthand the impact of stress in the workplace, I think the idea of helping students learn to manage stress and sleep better before they join the workforce is a perfect match for the goals of my company.
We are looking forward to meeting students at campuses across the country on the #SleepRevolution College Tour, hearing about what they care about, and helping them find ways to successfully manage stress throughout the day and experience restorative, rejuvenating sleep at night.
This post is part of our series on sleep culture on college campuses. To join the conversation and share your own story, please email our Director of College Outreach Abby Williams directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can find out here if the #SleepRevolution College Tour will be visiting your campus, and learn how you can get involved. If your college is not one of the colleges already on our tour and you want it to be, please get in touch with Abby.