Category: Mediation Training

Meditation improves your brain power

How meditation improves your brain power

Posted on 30th November 2017 in Emotional Intelligence, Mediation Training

So many people I know consider meditation as hippy and flowery and don’t really understand it at all. ‘What, closing your eyes and trying not to think of anything for thirty minutes, listening to the softest music with birds and waterfalls in the background…You what?’ I can hear a couple of my male friends say..!

Meditation is an enlightening practice which can change people’s lives for the better and should be part of everyone’s daily lives. We should all take the time to get away from digital screens, tv ads, traffic and general day to day hecticness and take time out to just be at one with ourselves. A little bit of time out each day means you can actually cope with more, much more easily.

The practice of meditation has always been associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation. Yogis have practiced meditation for centuries with the practice originates from Hindu traditions of Vedantism (Hindu philosophy and religious practice) around 1500 BCE. Meditation of course, is not only a religious practice today, it is being used as a way to exercise the brain and mind to help us cope with our fast-paced modern lives.

Well documented for reducing levels of anxiety, stress and depression, meditation can be used as a free, daily tool to totally improve your well-being. By regularly meditating you can decrease activity in your DMN (default mode network) which is the part of our brain which allows our thoughts to wander from one thought to another with no particular aim. Mind-wandering is associated with depression and ruminating over and over again about the past and the future.

You could use meditation to reduce nerves before a meeting or a big presentation. As soon as you close your eyes and start breathing deeply you will see how your body instantly relaxes.

However there is more to meditation than that just relaxation. For years practitioners have claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits which persist throughout the day.

Meditation improves your brain power

Meditation improves your brain power

Meditation helps us concentrate, focus better and improves our memory which can assist any of us in our daily lives.

A recent study from a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology reveals that meditation practitioners experienced a thickening of the cerebral cortex in areas associated with attention and emotional integration. The participants spent an average of 27 minutes per day practicing mindfulness exercises, and this is all it took to stimulate a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus.

Meditators who have been meditating daily for an average of 20 years are shown to have more gray matter volume throughout the brain.

“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” says Britta Hölzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany. You can read more about the remarkable study by visiting

If you are looking to reduce your stress levels, improve your brain power, feel happier and more in control of your life, then meditation couldn’t be better for you. 20 scientific reasons to start meditating today

There are a few apps which help beginners get started with meditation such as Headspace which can be found here:

Inner Space (a charitable organisation which promotes meditation) is also a brilliant place to start. You can book courses, listen to free talks which get you in the right zone and most imporatntly get you started on your journey into peace and enlightenment.


Meditation improves your brain power

disagreements leadership obstacles

Disagreements – Overcoming Leadership Obstacles…

Disagreements, obstacles, challenges, difficult personalities, situations of conflict and ensuing crucial conversations are all inevitable in professional life.

What marks out true leadership is the ability to cope with these potentially stressful situations effectively whilst retaining a sense of clarity and calmness. In other words, HOW you deal with a given situation illuminates how effective a leader you are.

Fight or Flight

Often in situations of conflict we, out of a primal sense of fight or flight, adopt a combat mentality where we strive to “win” and so become entrenched in a particular position in disagreements. In doing so, listening without prejudice goes out the window and everything that is said or done by our “opponent” is a provocation to be anticipated, blocked, thwarted and defeated. Both parties move away from a safety zone where each can express themselves freely. Instead we either move towards violence by labelling, attacking and controlling behaviours or we move towards silence by avoiding, withdrawing and masking behaviours.

The art of skillful mediation in order to overcome these situations is to accept that at the heart of any conflict are emotions borne out of being human.

Authentic Leadership

A true leader can take time out, readjust and then re-establish a conversation by stating what they really want and why it matters. The heightened emotions may still be present – we claim to want passionate not ambivalent leaders after all – but somehow more focused on the desired outcome as opposed to the battle of wills and disagreements that took place earlier.

And that doesn’t necessarily mean having to come up with all the answers in a flash of genius. It could mean saying “I realise that I don’t fully understand how you see this problem.” That would likely move the conversation back into a safe zone where differing perspectives and stories can be shared. That is the beginning of understanding, the route to solving any disagreements and it is also the mark of a leader.

Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication

Role play mediation training

Role Play for Effective Mediation Training

Using role play is an innovative means of training in many areas of business and particularly relevant for those interested in mediation.

Dynamic Presenting ran a sell out workshop on improvisation skills for qualified mediators. The event was organised in conjunction with CIArb – Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and took place at the offices of magic circle law firm Allen & Overy. Sartaj Garewal MCIArb and elite mediator Amanda Bucklow ran a very interactive, high impact session allowing delegates to experience the value of improvisation when the stakes are high. Role play in other words.

Keynote speakers included The Honourable Mr Justice Ramsey and Karl Mackie. The day involved various break out sessions addressing a wide range of relevant topics from ‘The Myth of Reality Testing’ to ‘Improvisation Skills for Mediators.’

Forum Theatre

The event began with a high impact forum theatre intervention where the audience of 50 or so invited delegates watched actors role playing a typical mediation scenario. The scenario was challenging and realistic and depicted two parties in conflict where the mediator (played by an actor) loses control of initial proceedings and the whole affair turned into a slanging match.

The scene lasted just a few minutes and was then re-run from the top, only this time the watching delegates were instructed to stop the action whenever the actor role playing the mediator character said or did anything they felt could be more effective. The actors would role play moments as advised with new direction and lines from the audience which in turn affected the behaviour and actions of the two parties in conflict, resulting in a completely different and far more effective outcome. All with a good deal of laughing and debating along the way..!

Experiential Training Works…!

With a keen, energetic audience, experiential training interventions such as forum theatre and role play can work wonders and all with absolutely no powerpoint slides or flip charts in sight…!!

Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication