Wall Street needs to start meditating, author Deepak Chopra said Monday.
The alternative medicine advocate, who starts each day with two hours of meditation, said even 15 minutes of meditation will help give financial workers the rest and focus to tackle their high-stress, fast-paced jobs.
“It makes them more productive because they’re centered,” he said during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “They’re not distracted.”
Chopra began practicing mindfulness as a busy internist and endocrinologist, when he smoked a pack of cigarettes a day to deal with the stress of treating up to 40 patients at a time. Studying brain chemistry, he realized that consciousness and emotional states had a powerful effect on the body.
“Stress is the No. 1 epidemic of our civilization,” Chopra said. “Indirectly or directly, it’s related to things like insomnia, anxiety, fear, but [also] cardiovascular illness, inflammation in the body, heart disease, autoimmune illnesses. Many kinds of cancer are connected directly or indirectly to inflammation in the body. So meditation is a very effective way to start tackling this problem, this epidemic of stress.”
Even just 15 minutes of meditation provides more rest than deep sleep, he said. Among those who follow his work is hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, who has his entire staff meditate daily, Chopra said.
“[It’s] just awareness of your body, of your breath, of your mental space, of your sensations, images, feelings, thoughts and also reflection,” he said. “Who am I? What do I want? Do I have a purpose? What am I grateful for?”
CNBC host Becky Quick then pressed Chopra to describe how mediation differs from traditional prayer.
“Prayer is you telling god what to do,” he said. “Meditation is you listening.”