Gadadhar Pandit: “Stress Management for Work-Life Balance” | Talks at Google

unless you guys have been living under a rock, or
maybe you just joined Google, you’re probably aware
of the myriad of ways that stress is bad for you. And we’re all now starting to
explore the nature of our minds and how we are, as individuals,
wound up and triggered. And so today we have
Gadadhara Pandit Das, and among many things, he
is a meditation teacher. And his approach
combines eastern wisdom with meditation practices
to help us all do just that. So I had the opportunity to
read his book in the past couple of weeks, and I was
not surprised to find that, like the stories
of many wise people, he faced a pretty serious
existential crisis in his youth, which I’m going
to let him tell you about. But it launched him on
a spiritual journey. It carried him to Mumbai
and eventually New York where he helps
young people like me with their quarter-life crises. He works with
students at Columbia and also NYU as a
lecturer, and also some of us with
our midlife crises that we may be going through. He’s been featured
on PBS and NPR, and he’s given a
Ted talk as well. So I just picked out a quote
from his book that really resounded with me, and I hope
it might with you as well. So. “That is taking care of
the needs of the body and ignoring the
needs of the soul is like watering the
leaves, fruits, and flowers of the tree, but forgetting
to water the actual root.” I know for many of
us, our material needs are pretty well
met here at Google. We may not be facing
an existential crisis on a day-to-day basis,
but we’re all here because we’re concerned
about that inward journey and the spiritual
aspect of things. So I’m very excited to welcome–
we can call him Pandit, he has informed me,
like a political pundit. So everyone, please
welcome Pandit. GADADHARA PANDIT: So I’m
really happy to be here, and I want to thank the people
who have organized this. Gopi was the one
who invited me here, and [INAUDIBLE]
put a lot of work into getting this whole
program organized, and of course, [INAUDIBLE]. So I’m just grateful
to be able to share this wonderful information
with you on managing stress. And the first
thing I like to do, because I know you’re all
coming from meetings or eating, emails, so I like to get
everybody on the same page. So I like to a short,
mind-quieting exercise to start off our session. So if you’re eating, I’m sorry. It might disturb your
eating just a little bit, but if you can sit comfortably
and close your eyes. And just feel your
feet on the floor. Feel the weight of your
body sinking into the chair. Now slowly take
a deep breath in, feeling the cool air
going in through your nose and filling your lungs. And when your lungs
are completely filled, focus on the warmer
breath leaving your body through your nose. And you’ll notice the inhalation
is cooler than the exhalation. Again, take a deep breath in. Feel the cool air going
in through your nose and filling your lungs. When your lungs are
completely filled, you can slowly exhale,
feeling the warm breath leaving your body
through your nose. We can do this one more time. You can take a slow,
deep breath in, feeling the cool air
entering your nose. Filling your lungs completely. And then exhaling,
emptying out your lungs. Now you can bring your
awareness to your eyes. And you can slowly
open your eyes. When I feel like we get into a
room with so many people having so many different
thoughts, it’s, you know, about 50,
60 people in here. It’s almost like having
50 or 60 radios playing at different radio stations. So now even for a minute or two,
we could all do the same thing. It’s quite powerful. Such a busy environment. Somebody described this
environment recently to me like Disneyland out here. And it really was. Like oh, my gosh. There’s food trucks,
and there’s people, and there’s G-Bikes, and all
kinds of things going on. So it’s nice to be
able to do– everybody can do the same thing
for just a little while. Now as we’re talking
about stress, and I know there’s many
factors in our lives that causes stress,
and we’re all going through a lot
of different things. So I like to start
off with a question. Kind of a personal
question, and you can feel free to
yell out an answer. Feel comfortable. And the question
is, what in life right now is causing you stress? I’ll just tell you this
that last time I asked this, it was at Bank of America. One lady, without any
hesitation, yelled out, “It’s my husband.” So if you feel that confident
and comfortable with everyone around, and you want to go ahead
and say something personal, please do so. So what’s on your mind? What’s causing you stress
today, or in general causes you stress? AUDIENCE: Clutter. GADADHARA PANDIT: Clutter. OK. Thank you. All right. What else? AUDIENCE: Parents. GADADHARA PANDIT: Parents. OK. We’re getting into the family. It’s getting more personal now. OK. What else? AUDIENCE: Noise. GADADHARA PANDIT: Huh? AUDIENCE: Noise. Noise. GADADHARA PANDIT: Noise. OK. Good thing you don’t live in
New York City where I live. I live right on the Avenue. OK. What else? AUDIENCE: Commuting. GADADHARA PANDIT: OK. Yeah, that’s going
to be stressful. Anything else? AUDIENCE: Death of my aunt. GADADHARA PANDIT: The
death of your aunt. Thank you for sharing
something so personal. Anything else? AUDIENCE: Deadlines. GADADHARA PANDIT: Deadlines. OK. Too much to do and
not enough time. There’s so many different
factors that cause us stress, and according to the
American Institute of Stress, they divided up into
four basic categories. So the biggest reason
in our lives that causes us stress
is our workload, and a lot of stuff what
people said was work-related. And it’s 46% of all
stress that we experience is connected with our work. That might sound like
a lot, but if you think about it, about half
of your waking time, the time that you’re awake,
you’re at work. If you’re getting, let’s
say six hours of sleep, hopefully you’re getting
at least that much. Hopefully. What do you have? 18 hours remaining in your day. And easily 10 of those
is either commuting to and from work and at work, or
maybe even more than 10 hours. Maybe it’s 12 hours. So 46% might even
be a low figure. It might even be more than that. So but at least
46% of our stress is caused by our workload,
deadlines, things like that. 28%, people issues. Maybe you don’t get
along with the person you’re sitting next to at work. And you’re spending
half your day at work. Or maybe you’ve got personal
issues in your life. Between workload and people
issues, that’s 75% right there. Those two items take up 75%
of the stress we experience. 20% is juggling your
work responsibilities and your personal life, and then
6% is a lack of job security. So that’s also a huge one. And of course,
besides this, there may be other things
in our lives that cause us stress which
weren’t covered here. I know one thing that
causes a lot of stress for a lot of people is
just uncertainty in life. You’re hoping to achieve
something by a certain time, or you’re hoping this’ll happen. But it doesn’t happen. You’re really expecting it. You’re really counting on it,
but it just didn’t happen. And that’s causing stress. Or something that happens
that you wish didn’t happen. So unexpected,
unpredictable things. And there was a lot of
unpredictable things in my life that caused me a lot of
stress, and some of you who have the book will have
a chance to read about it. I grew up– I was born in India. My parents came over to
this country in 1980. Moved to Los Angeles actually. The first thing that
my parents did– they didn’t come over
with a lot of money. They were doing swap
meets at Venice Beach. So they set up a little
shop on Venice Beach. You see all those
vendors, so they were one of those
vendors in 1980, ’81, just selling all
kinds of gift items. And I was seven years
old at that time, and that was my
first introduction to American culture. So I was just learning
to play basketball. I was skateboarding up
and down the boardwalk. I was listening to funk music. That was what I was
exposed to in 1980, a seven-year-old Indian
kid in landed America. So they struggled really hard
to establish their business, and it was incredible. I don’t know how they did
it, but within five years, they established a multimillion
dollar jewelry business that went across the country. It’s incredible how
hard they– I don’t even know what they did, because
I was just working– I was just playing, basically. But they worked so hard
that they established an incredible business,
and then we– my dad bought this piece of land on
top of the Glendale Hills. We carved out the
hill, and that’s where we built our humble abode. This was my room right here. It’s no longer my room. We don’t live here anymore. I’m going to explain
to you why not So as you can see, on the
side there’s no other houses, so we had the last spot. And in front my room
there was no houses, so I could see all
of Downtown LA. That was like my morning
view every single day. It was kind of a scenic spot. People would come up,
especially on Friday nights and Saturday nights
to look at the view. But that’s what I would
wake up with every morning. A swimming pool in the
back, a Jacuzzi, waterfall, six bedrooms, the whole works. But the story doesn’t end there. In 1993, my parents had a
jewelry manufacturing plant, electrical plant. And during heavy rainfalls,
the thing caught on fire. And our entire
business collapsed. It took us so long to
try to reestablish that. Actually everything
collapsed and finished. And when that
business collapsed, eventually, we lost all our
properties, including this one. We lost all our cars. It was a full-blown demolition. It was a complete wipeout. We lost everything. And in an attempt to
get back up on our feet, my dad follows a lead
from a friend of his to go to East
Europe, because they were coming out of communism. And he thought that he could
import things from India and somehow try to– because
once you’ve lived that life, you can’t go back
to living simply. It’s kind of hard. So he went to Bulgaria. Anybody been to Bulgaria? Anybody from Bulgaria here? OK. So he went to Bulgaria,
and just a little while later, my mom I
decided that well, there’s no point in us living here,
because our life is just kind of turned upside down. Might as well go to
Bulgaria and be together and figure out where
our life’s going to go. So in 1993, we packed our
bags and went off to Bulgaria. We went from that
incredible house to living in one
of these buildings in a one-bedroom apartment
in one of these buildings. Smaller, or the same size of
like a New York City apartment. And Bulgaria, at that time, it
had just come out of communism. It was about 50 years
behind in technology. So in order for me
to make a phone call, I would have to walk to
the post office, which was about a mile away. Hardly anyone in the
country spoke English, so even buying groceries
was a challenge. And the stuff that
was on television was all basically in
Bulgarian and Russian, so I couldn’t
understand anything. There was no
entertainment for me. I went from living the LA
life, the 90210 lifestyle, to a place where I didn’t
have anything to do. Even the movies that were
playing in the theaters were like a year old, and I
had seen everything already. There was absolutely nobody
to talk to, nothing to do. Incredible time of
introspection and reflection really trying to
figure out what I wanted to do with
the rest of my life. Was I going to live
and die in Bulgaria? What was going to happen? I went from a life
of complete certainty to a life of
complete uncertainty. Two years after being in
Bulgaria for two years in 1995, the country was
kind of unstable. It was becoming a
little unsafe for us, so we decided to leave
and move back to the US, but we wanted to be
close to New York City, so we moved to New Jersey. And my parents,
as they’re trying to establish another
business in New Jersey, I decide to try my hand
at the mortgage industry. You’re thinking, why mortgages? I don’t know. I was just trying to figure
out what I was going to do. And we’re trying to– here
I was a loan officer trying to give loans to
people with bad credit using the equity in their home. Wasn’t sitting so well,
because these loans were good for like three months,
and after that you’d have to pay for those
loans, and it really wasn’t helping people. So it wasn’t something that
was sitting well with me in my conscience, and I’m like,
OK, I can’t do this anymore. So at one point I said, I really
need to take a break from life. Because life had just been
the craziest roller coaster imaginable. And in 1999, I took a
huge step in my life. Something I would do on my
own, really for the first time. To figure out what I wanted
to do and who I really was, I went to live in a
monastery in India, but the idea was to
be there for a month. So I was living–
I’m an only child. I went from being an only child,
having everything to myself, to living with 40 monks. That mean shared bathrooms,
shared floor space, sleeping on the floor in a
sleeping bag on a thin straw mat, waiting in line to
use the bathroom at 4:00 in the morning, because they
got up real early, these guys. Because our meditation
services started at 5:00. So a huge shift, but I
can say that being there and taking that time out
for myself was probably the most satisfying experience
I’ve ever had in my life, even when we were millionaires. It kind of felt like– when
I could really reflect on it, it felt like I’d been–
up until then I’d been eating food that
didn’t have enough salt. Food can be really tasty, but
if there’s not enough salt, no matter how else you spice
it, it just tastes bland. Right? Salt just brings out the
flavor in everything. I kind of felt like
I’d been living a life with not
enough salt in it. And it was such
a deep experience I extended my stay from
one month to six months. I ended up staying
in India six months, here, and at
different monasteries. And then eventually I decided
to come back to the US after six months, and
that one-month retreat has extended until
August of 2014, now. It’s 15 years later. I’m still living in a monastery. I’m not dressed in my
traditional saffron robes. We wanted to take
it easy on you guys. After you guys just had
lunch, we weren’t sure how much that would affect you
seeing me in robes up here, so we kind of wanted to
take it easy on everybody. So I’m dressed– I like to
say I’m undercover today. So one of the things
that I studied while I was in the monastery,
continue to study now is the nature of the mind. Because the mind
is where all stress and anxiety and anger and
frustration and fear– they all rest in the mind. So we did quite
a bit of studying about the nature of the mind
and became aware of our mind. And my realization
was that the mind is very much like a hard
drive of a computer. That it stores everything. Like how many files
are on your computer? Millions of files. And how many do you remember? Hardly 1% of what’s
on your computer. That’s our mind. It is taking in whatever
the senses bring in, whatever you see every day. It all gets stored in the mind. Whatever you hear every day. It all gets stored in the mind. Smell, taste, touch, everything
gets stored within the mind. We’re not aware of most of
the stuff that’s going in. Sometimes all of
the sudden you’ll remember something random,
because it was already in there. We’re just not aware of it. So everything–
and you can imagine how much we’re being bombarded
by things of this world every single day. In one day, how
much is going in? According to “Psychology
Today,” an average person goes through between 25 to
50,000 thoughts per day. Because you’re probably taking
in hundreds of thousands of impressions every single day. When you walked into this room,
you can’t remember everything in this room, but your mind
kind of took a snapshot, and it’s all in there. In a month, you can go
over a million thoughts, and in over a year, it could
be 18 million thoughts. Penny for your
thoughts everybody. Right? So, and like I mentioned
earlier, most of these things we don’t remember. Every day, it’s like we’re
experiencing a daily overload. Really an overload. So we shouldn’t be surprised
if at the end of the day we feel stressed or
just like exhausted. We’re taking in a
lot of information. A lot of data is going
into our hard drive. Thoughts. We’re having so many different
thoughts every single day because of all the
impressions that are going in. A lot of our thoughts
are things from the past. The negative things
that happened a year or two years ago, or
some of the positive things that happened, some memories. Unfortunately, too much time
we spend in the past thinking about the things that we’ve
lost, people that we’ve lost, people that have hurt us. We can’t let go of these things. It’s really hard, and we spend
too much time in the past. If we’re not doing
that, the mind is spending time in the future. What am I going
to eat for dinner? Like how many have
planned dinner while you’re eating lunch? I’ve done that too. Monks do that too sometimes. Because I have a
little stricter diet, so I’m wondering where
am I going to eat, because I’m not sure if
I can get what I can eat. So we’re planning
the next meal, we’re planning our weekend,
our vacation. You know, just all
kinds of things. When and how I’m
going to retire. So if it’s not in the
past, it’s in the present. If it’s not in the
present, it’s in the past. It’s like a set of windshield
wipers with no off switch. Imagine if from the
day you bought your car to the day you gave
it up you never turned off your
windshield wipers. You think you’d
kind of go crazy. Everybody would
think you’re crazy. But that’s kind of what’s
happening in the mind. Very little are we actually
in the present moment. And most of it,
we’re unaware of. You drive down the street. So much going in, we
don’t remember most of it. And even when we
dream– it’s amazing– our mind doesn’t stop. When you go to sleep,
it’s a 24/7 machinery. Your hard drive is
running all the time. So don’t be
surprised, even if you haven’t had an exhausting
day that you’re tired at the end of the day. There’s a whole lot going on up
there that we’re not aware of. So now, the mind impacts the
body in a huge way, actually– very, very significant way. What happens to the
mind affects the body. What happens to the
body affects the mind. That relationship is
very, very intimate. And there is such a
thing as positive stress, that adrenaline boost, if
you want to accomplish goals, maybe you’re in danger. That positive stress helps
you defend yourself, protect yourself, but you don’t
want to be living even on that adrenaline
boost all the time. So the things that we
want to talk about today are things like stress, anger,
and anxiety that ultimately take a toll on our body. Things like high blood pressure. We know that’s a
product of the mind. Think about it. It’s not necessarily the
circumstances around you. It’s your mind that’s giving
you high blood pressure. We’re going to explain
that a little bit more. Your mind is creating fatigue. It’s your mind
that’s preventing you from getting a
good night’s sleep. Like you just can’t let
it go– the project you’re working on or maybe
the conflict you had. You’re holding onto it,
and you can’t fall asleep. You’re trying, but the
mind just plays it over. It’s in instant replay mode. You can’t get it out. And then, of course, in a
worst case, heart attacks and strokes. We can note that’s all
a product of the mind. So good way to understand this,
how the mind affects the body, is the phenomena of nightmare. Anybody recently
have a nightmare? For some of us, maybe
it’s more graphic. You saw a horror
movie, and then you’re like the victim
in your nightmare. You know? Like, oh, my God, I’m
being chased by somebody with a hacksaw. And then when you
wake up from that, what are your bodily
symptoms when you wake up from a nightmare and
realize it was just a dream? AUDIENCE: Sweating. GADADHARA PANDIT: OK. You’re sweating. What else? AUDIENCE: Your heart’s pounding. GADADHARA PANDIT:
Your heart’s pounding. You feel like the guys may
still be in the closet. Everybody responded to that. So your heart’s beating. You’re breathing faster, maybe. And to think about it, you
were comfortably tucked away in your bed in beautiful
Northern California. The sun is always shining,
and the hills are flowing. Right? But what made your
heart beat faster? It was your mind. You weren’t running. What made your breathing faster? It was your mind. What made perspiration
come out of your body? How hard you have to work out
for perspiration to come out? Think about it for a moment. How hard do you have to run
on that treadmill before like, OK, finally I’m sweating? But here, it’s like
you’re sitting still. You’re as inactive as possible. And the mind says, well,
we’re going to make you sweat. So it’s a product of the mind. The physical health is
a product of the mind. Who knows which movie
this quote is from? “The mind makes it real.” Come on. Someone’s got to know. “The Matrix.” “Inception”
is a good guess. It was similar. Who said Matrix? OK. Yes. It’s one of my favorite movies. Now this is when Neo is
getting trained by Morpheus. He comes out of that
training session bleeding. It didn’t really happen. It was in his mind. He says, “I thought
it wasn’t real.” And then Morpheus says,
“The mind makes it real.” I was trying to sound like
Morpheus with a shaved head. So he said the
mind makes it real. And that’s what it is, because
the mind can create a reality. So much that we may forget
what is real and what’s not. So sleepwalking. That’s another
interesting phenomena. How many here sleepwalk
or have slept-walked at some point in their life? OK. You want to tell
us what you do– AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]
sleepwalked when I was a kid and not after I grew up. I mean, I don’t what kind of– GADADHARA PANDIT:
Even if you did, we don’t hold it against you. It’s OK. So you don’t remember
exactly what you did? AUDIENCE: No. GADADHARA PANDIT: Anybody
have a funny story of them sleepwalking
or watch– yes? AUDIENCE: I’m sorry. So when I was in
college, I think I’d just become a TA,
teaching assistant. In the middle of the night
around 2:00 or something, I’m in my sleep, I’m walking. And I go to my
roommate’s room, and I start giving her
a lecture of what I was going to
teach the next day. And she’s looking at
me like, Sonia, you need to go back to bed. GADADHARA PANDIT: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. It’s amazing. I’ve had people tell me that
they watched their roommate get up, go to the kitchen,
make a sandwich. All right. One lady said that
her friend told her that she got up in the middle of
the night and washed her face. You’d think water
would wake you up, but if the mind doesn’t
want you to wake up, you’re not waking
up no matter what. And then she went back to bed. So this is– the idea is
that for us to understand the nature of our mind,
how powerful it is. It makes a plan for you. Imagine, especially,
sleepwalking. I used to sleepwalk. My parent said I’d try
to walk out of the house. And it makes a plan for you. It makes you execute it, and
it tells you go back to bed, and don’t remember anything. OK. So that’s how much in
control your mind is. So how much control
are we in actually? It’s just something
to think about. So our mind has a strong
impact on our body. According to the American
Psychology Association, the things that we do that
are unhealthy in dealing with stress. These are some of
the four main things that we do when we’re stressed
is smoking, drinking, comfort eating. Anybody relate to that
picture right there? Right? Comfort eating and
inactivity, and you might think that
inactivity– this guy– OK. My slideshow’s jumping
around on me, actually. So you might think
that inactivity would have a picture of a
guy kind of lounging out in a chair with
a remote control, so you can imagine that now. You’d think that
that’s maybe relaxing, and I think it
could be at times. Of course, if you combine
it with the other three, that can be kind of
a lethal combination. Right? So we want to be careful
how we combine things. And there’s a lot of, I
think, positive solutions that we– I’m sure
a lot of us already apply into our lives
to deal with stress. And one such thing, of course–
how many of you do yoga? A lot of people do
yoga around here? I know there’s a yoga class here
like on Monday nights, right? Gopi leads a yoga
class or something. AUDIENCE: There’s like
five classes every day. GADADHARA PANDIT: Huh? There’s five classes every day. My gosh, you guys
are like yogis. Natural-born yogis. OK. So exercise, yoga, of
course, is a wonderful thing, one way to stay healthy. Getting a good night’s sleep. So important. If you don’t get
that, you’re going to be tired and sleepy
at work, and that’s not going to be fun for you
or for people around you. Personal hobby. You know, once you get out
of college, a lot of that starts slipping away. Things that you enjoy doing
that made you feel good, made you just kind of
connect with yourself, do something for yourself. Maybe you like to ride horses. Maybe you like to bird
watch or go for walks or draw or play music. So important to somehow
revive those things. Bring them back into your life. Don’t forget– don’t
leave yourself behind. So keep implementing
those things. Positive relationships. So important,
because that can be really a huge cause of stress. Especially like personal
relationships not going well. That’s going to spill over
onto work and everything else. And it can be– and developing
relationships is hard. Maintaining them is hard,
because everybody gets so busy. You have to schedule
everything a month in advance. But make that endeavor to
connect with your friends from college, connect
with your family, because ultimately
when you’re going through difficult
situations in your life, these are the people that are
going to be there for you. It’s not going to
be anything else. And then what
about relationships with our colleagues? We are spending a good amount
of time with our colleagues. Half your day. You might know your
colleagues better than you know your spouse. You know the eating
habits and talking habits and everything, because you’re
kind of next to each other. Making that endeavor,
and it is an endeavor, to get to know them and
to have a nice positive harmonious
relationship with them. So important. Can relieve stress. And then you understand
each other better. Less opportunity
for misunderstanding and miscommunication when
you understand each other. So that little investment
can prevent you from a lot of stress
in the future. So the last two items were
healthy eating and meditation. So we’re going to talk about
those now in the slides. According to Harvard
Health Publications, red meat in addition to raising
the risk for colorectal cancer and other health problems, it
can actually shorten your life. The National Cancer
Institute, people whose diets are rich in plant foods, such
as fruits and vegetables, have a lower risk of
getting cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. My friend just took me
into your cafeteria here, and I was looking at all
the signs on the walls. I was like, oh, my god. I’m talking about
this stuff right here. I like it. Google’s healthy. It said, “Go lean,”
on the dairy and meat. I’m like, yes, I like that. It said that– one
of the other signs said, half your plate
with vegetables– for me it’s a full plate– but it
says at least half your plate with vegetables. Mix up the vegetables, because
different vegetables give you different nutrients
and vitamins. I used to do vegetarian
cooking classes at Columbia for about 11 years. Had like 100 students
coming in, and you were just talking about eating a variety
of fruits and vegetables really improves your health
and stamina and everything, actually. According to the
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,
vegetarian foods are powerful for health. They can help with
preventing cancer, lowering blood
pressure, and also help you in beating heart
disease, which we already saw. Preventing and reversing
diabetes, gall stones, kidney stones, and
osteoporosis, lots of benefits. Incredible, right? And helps with removing asthma. OK. That’s jumping too quickly. So how many of you know that
Bill Clinton went vegan? After he had this quadruple
bypass surgery, he went vegan, cut out all meat, all dairy. And he says that
within six months, his body begin to heal itself. It began to heal itself. The stuff just fell away,
the clogs and everything was just kind of falling away. And it was an incredible
change in his life. So, and I went vegetarian
about 15 or 17 ago. It wasn’t easy, because I was
kind of carnivorous growing up. Every meal, every lunch and
dinner for me had to have meat. I almost never ate
lunch or dinner that didn’t have some
kind of meat there. Breakfast was cereal, but
everything else just had meat. If it didn’t have
meat, I’d like, I don’t think I’ve
like really eaten yet. I need to eat. I haven’t eaten yet. So that was just
kind of like how people think about
vegetarian food. So I was part of that
culture, but for me, I mean I’m just really
grateful that I was able to go do it
for my own health. So other items. So what we’ve been
talking about here are foods that cause us stress. So we’ve talked about if meat
is causing– has a potential or increases your possibility
of getting cancer, that means it’s stressing
your body out. It’s stress on the body. It’s not able to really
digest it properly. It’s staying in
there way too long. This is really interesting. I know you guys probably
aren’t happy to see the slide. Duke Medicine. Caffeine effects our
long-lasting and compound stress. No need to hide
your coffee mugs. I’m not a judgmental monk. You can do what you want. Caffeine taken in
the morning has effects on the body that
persist until bedtime and amplify stress consistently
throughout the day. Because it’s revving
up your system. A lot of these
are comfort foods, and what they do
is they make you– they give you an instant rush. Why do they relax you? I’ll tell you why. Because you’re stressed,
and it tastes so good you stop– you’re no longer
in your mind anymore. It’s a distraction. It just serves as a distraction. But 20 minutes later, it’s
going to affect your body, it’s going to affect
your energy level, it’s going to bring
it right back down. In that instance, it’s
kind of like a baby. You distract it for something. That’s what happens. We like to distract, so we
put something in our mouth, and we get distracted. So there’s a really nice image. And it’s on the New
York City subway system. New York City subway
systems are going healthy. The rest of New York isn’t,
but the subway system’s going healthy. They have these posters
on the subway where they have 68 packets of sugar. OK? And they’re pouring
into the sugary drinks. All the sodas and lemonades
and things that we’re drinking. Four sugary drinks equal
68 packets of sugar. 17 packets per bottle of
whatever you’re drinking. Sodas and sugary drinks. Imagine next time you go to
like Starbucks or something, just for the fun of it,
just grab 17 packets and look at them for awhile. Yeah. That’s a lot of sugar. And next time you want
to grab a sugary drink, you can imagine that’s
what’s going in, and all these extra calories
can bring on obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. So comfort foods,
they taste good, they make you feel good
for a little while, they give you a
little extra energy. Is it worth it for the long run? Because when you’re young,
you can get away with it. 20 years later, your
body will remind you. I promise it’ll tell you
that you don’t remember, but you put all
this stuff into me. And now it’s payback time. Healthy eating. There’s another sign that
I saw in the cafeteria that said, replace like sugary drinks
with like juices or something, or sugars with
fruits and juices. Something like that. So what I personally
like to do because I have a huge sweet tooth. I love my sweets. Monks love sweets. All monks. Every monk on the
planet loves sweets. So I love my sweets, and I know
that if I don’t have fruits at my desk, I’ll go
for something sugary. So when I start my
day, I just grab some stuff– raisins, and
apples, and things like that and have them on my desk. Juices, so when I
feel the craving, if it’s not
available right away, my mind’s taking me
to a candy machine. So easy thing,
simple habits that we can try to implement
into our lives. Bring it in with you,
so it’s just there. Water. Simple. I can’t remember, there’s a
really great quote about water. Oh, yeah. It’s the only thing that
can quench your thirst. I’ve got all these
Google quotes. So it’s the only thing
that could really quench your thirst,
and that’s true. You know when you
get thirsty, you may want to go for
something else. It’s putting sugar in your body. It’s not really
quenching your thirst. And remaining properly hydrated
can keep your cortisol levels down. So cortisol is the
hormone that your body releases when you’re stressed. And that’s the stuff that
really– cortisol affects your body in so many ways. It starts like the learning
process gets affected, memory gets affected,
immune system gets weaker. So the more– drinking water
really helps keep it down. Are we drinking enough
water every day? That’s something we
have to ask ourselves. Another thing I like to do,
I have a one liter bottle. And I just fill it in the
morning, keep it at my desk. Of course, if you can drink
more than that, great. But I know if it’s
on my desk, it’s my goal to like get through
that by the end of the day. And I kind of have to
have it right there to really make it possible so
that I actually follow through on it. Baby’s feet. Nice meditation, right? It’s such a stress reliever
just to look at baby’s feet. Isn’t it? You kind of forget
about everything. So there’s a point
I’m making here. I mentioned a lot
of health tips. And we really have
to take baby steps. Like if you’re not used to
drinking a lot of water, don’t run out and
drink a gallon. That’s actually unhealthy. And if you’re thinking,
well, yeah, maybe now. I kind of maybe have always
thought about vegetarianism. Maybe I’m going to try it. I’m going to just
go for it tomorrow. Try one day a week first. Try like meatless Mondays. That’s kind of a popular term
in Northern California I think, right? You do like meatless Mondays. Try one day a week. Increase it two days. You have plenty of
time to cut back. Better to start in
a way that you’ll be able to sustain
it and maintain it as opposed to getting
all fired up for one week, going cold turkey–
no pun intended there– going cold
turkey, and then falling off the wagon,
and just diving head first into the next like
20-ounce steak or something. So take baby steps. You’ll be sustain– it took me
one full year to wean myself off of meat, actually. A full year. Because I mean that’s all I ate. That’s all that I
knew how to eat. So the next thing, one of
the most important things about dealing with stress,
because stress is in the mind. It’s happening up here. We talked about all the ways
the mind creates our reality. So now we’re going to talk about
something that directly deals with your mind, goes to the
very source of where stress is, and creates a healthy
environment for where all of these items
are processed. A lot of research is
being done on meditation. According to MIT News,
our data indicate that meditation training
makes you better at focusing. That’s a neuroscientist
from MIT. Makes you better at focusing. Makes sense, because the mind
is responsible for how much you can focus. You’re relaxed. If that mechanism
is relaxed, you’ll naturally be more focused. Forbes magazine. Meditation makes
you more productive. And this is all very
recent research, the last couple of
years, actually. New York Times– there’s
mounting evidence that the practice can enhance
creativity and memory. We could always use a
little bit better memory. I think we can remember. Usually you meet somebody. Five minutes later
you forget their name. Had that happen to anyone? Maybe not you guys. Maybe it happens to me only. I don’t know. Psychology Today– helps you
decrease anxiety, depression, and stress. Because again, all of these
things are happening up here. You don’t want them to happen,
but the mind makes it happen. The mind makes it real. That’s what’s really happening. How much you decide to
take stress over something is really up to your mind. And, well, I think
we can sometimes, in retrospect, we see
like, I didn’t really need to work myself up
that much because of that. Like I was so crazy, and
I just let myself do that. I did it to myself. There’s no need. So now we’re going to just talk
about how meditation can really help us bring our mind to a
healthier, stronger place, so we can function from a place
of strength and not weakness. Imagine living your
whole life without really taking care of your mind. So what meditation does for the
mind, it nourishes the mind. So we have our
physical body, and we take care of our
physical body how? By exercising, by
eating properly, but the control center is
up here for the whole body. And we’re not doing anything
about the control center. It’s like cleaning the car,
but letting the engine just fall apart. Think about it for a moment. That’s the control center,
and when was the last time we actually sat down– oh, we’ve
got to take care of the mind right now? No one tells us to do that. We’ve forgotten it. Out of sight, out
of mind, right? That’s kind of what’s happening. So meditation– it’s an
exercise for the mind. It makes the mind your friend. And it helps you develop
positive perspectives. So when you meditate,
your mind wanders. You have to bring it back. It wanders. You have to bring it back. And that’s an exercise. Kind of like pushups
for the mind. So the more we
exercise the mind, we take time out
on a regular basis to do that, the
healthier it’ll become. We’ll feel the effects
of depression and anxiety decreasing. We’ll feel having more
positive perspective. Something difficult
happens, you’ll be able to see that as
an opportunity for growth instead of just diving
into it and staying depressed for the next
couple weeks about it. It all depends on
a healthy mind, and this is the way
to really do it. Through the positive
perspective, helping you see the glass as half full
and not as half empty. The really great
quote here that I like from Steve Jobs,
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You only connect
them looking back.” And unless you have
a healthy mind, you can’t really even connect
the dots looking back. Like all these things
led me to this point, and I’m actually like, now
I can look back and say that everything that
happened to me was actually– I’m glad, because I
needed to go through all of that to come to
where I am today. And maybe you’re still
thinking that, well, it’s only for monks. Well, it’s not only for monks. A lot of people now, as you
already see in the research, are into meditation or
have been into meditation. Oprah’s talking about
meditation constantly. Phil Jackson– you
guys know, right? He’s a coach of the
Bulls and the Lakers, won 11 championship rings. Most rings of any
other NBA coach. He’s called the Zen
master, because he used to make his team
meditate before games. Steve Jobs used to
be into meditation. I also have a
picture– I don’t know if it’s going to pop up–
of Arianna Huffington. One time, so much stress she
collapsed, hit her cheekbone, and she realized that
something was wrong. She needed to
implement meditation into her life for
healthier living, so she can’t stop
talking about it either. So professionals,
very successful people who are exploring some
concept of meditation. And there’s different
types of meditation. Of course, what we already did
a little bit of– breathing. We’re going to do
a little bit more now for just a five
minute, a little bit more. Some focusing, someone
mantras, and the mantras are audible recitation
of sounds, actually. So that’s another way
using sound vibration to calm the mind. A lot of people will
affiliate mantras to some more like a spiritual
religious practice. So we won’t go into
anything like that today. But we will do some
breathing and meditation. So having said all that, we can
do some meditation right now. And then I’ll open
it up for questions. That sound OK? All right. So if you can go ahead
and again sit comfortably. What’s the time? Ten minutes. OK. You can close your eyes. And for now don’t worry about
what you’re going to do later. Try not to think about
what happened yesterday or last week. Just feel your body
sitting in its chair come into the present moment. And take a deep breath
in through your nose, filling your lungs. And exhale deeply, completely. Now we’re going to do a
countdown of our breathing, keeping our mind focused on our
breath even when it wanders. Inhale 10. Complete inhale. When your lungs are
filled, exhale 10. Exhale completely. Inhale nine. Exhale nine. Inhale eight. Exhale eight. Stay focused on your breathing. Now continue breathing and
counting down on your own till you get to one. As your mind wanders,
keep it on the breath. Stay focused on your breath. Don’t plan. One more deep breath in. Keeping your eyes
closed, exhale. Now bring your awareness
to the top of your head. Focus all of your attention
on the top of your head. Now bring your awareness
down to your forehead. Center your awareness in
between your eyebrows. Now take a look
inward into your mind, and become an
observer of your mind. Bring your awareness
to your eyes. Relax the muscles in your eyes. Bring your awareness down to
your mouth and tongue and jaw. Relax the muscles in your jaw. Relax your tongue. Let your tongue slip down
to the bottom of the mouth. Bring your awareness down
to your neck and shoulders. Release the tension in
your neck and shoulders. Let your shoulders drop down. Now bring your awareness
down to your heart. And see if you can feel
the beating of your heart. When you become aware of
the beating of your heart, focus harder and see
if you can pick up on the rhythm of your heartbeat. Take a deep breath in
bringing your awareness slowly back up your body
to the top of your head. Exhale slowly. Bring your awareness
to your eyes. And slowly open your eyes. See how easy it is for
the mind to wander? Takes a few seconds actually. Within two seconds, the mind’s
already on another thought. And many of our
thoughts that we have are unrelated to each other. It’s like a pinball
machine in there. And like anything, if you
exercise the mind regularly, it’ll become stronger. If you work out once
a year, not much good. Work out regularly,
become stronger. Your stamina increases. Now we did this for
five, seven minutes. I saw some people doze off. That’s normal. I see it all the time,
because it relaxes you. But five minutes in the morning,
or in the evening, and or in the evening, in the
middle of the day. Go into your nap pods
here that you guys, which I’m hoping to
see before I leave. They really true? Do they really exist? You know. Just find a space. Do it in the middle of the day
before a stressful meeting. If you know something’s going
to be stressful, take time out. Just gather yourself. Strengthen yourself
before going in. So I want to thank you all
very much for your patience, your attention, and
your participation. Yes? AUDIENCE: Thank you. You spoke about your
diet restriction, not to have a few things–
Coke, sugary things. But isn’t it true that
everything in moderation is good? Every food comes with
some of its benefits? So rather than completely
doing away with it, having it in moderation
isn’t a good idea? GADADHARA PANDIT: Well,
like a sugary drink? That’s already going
beyond moderation. So we’re talking
about those things. Yeah, I mean the sugar
in fruits, actually. The sugar in fruits, everything
in moderation is good. It’s just some of these products
are already beyond moderate. You have one of
those, you’ve already gone beyond the
moderation limit. AUDIENCE: I saw a cup
of tea in your picture, so I thought tea had come
with some health benefits. Right? GADADHARA PANDIT: Yeah. I don’t know. I mean, I know it stimulates
the body and mind, which is there’s other ways to do that
same simulation without putting something in. Again, I’m saying
that you’ve got to do what you’ve got
to do for yourself. Whatever you feel
is healthy for you. These are some suggestions. These aren’t dos and don’ts. You see where you’re at, what
you’re able to do comfortably. And these are suggestions
and recommendations. So whatever you feel is
best for you, you know. AUDIENCE: So what we did
today, is that something that one could probably do
like in the morning or at night before bed? GADADHARA PANDIT: Yeah. I taught something
that I thought people could do on
a regular basis. There’s many more techniques
and many more elaborate things. I mean, I meditate
for like– I’m kind of fanatic
about my meditation. I do it for like
two hours a day. But you do it five minutes. Something is better
than nothing. It’s a good start to your day. It’s a great way to end. It relaxes you at
the end of the day. It might help you sleep better. So, yeah, I think absolutely
it’s a good way to start. It’s a great way to start. AUDIENCE: Thank you. AUDIENCE: I’m a believer in
all this stuff, especially the meditation piece, but
I’ve struggled mightily to incorporate it
into my daily routine. And even just the one minute,
five minutes, small chunks, and I was wondering if you
had any suggestions on how to incorporate into the daily
schedule or daily habit. Is it– do you
find that it’s best to do it first thing
in the morning or right before you go to bed? Like time of day? How do you manage it? GADADHARA PANDIT: It all
depends on each individual. Whatever you think would work
best for you, just start there. Whatever you know that you would
have the easiest time with. Maybe it’s the first thing. Maybe it’s the last thing. Maybe it’s in the middle. Finding other people that
like to do it is a good way. Like last year I did a 10-week
meditations course session. And after that was over, five
of the people– we got about 10, 15 people coming–
five of the people formed a little
group on their own. And they said that
OK, from now on, whenever we do our
meditation, we’re going to text the
others that I did it. And then the other– imagine
in the middle of the day, get a text like, I meditated. OK. I’ve got to do it now. So getting and
finding a community of others that are also
doing it is very powerful. So I mean if you have like
five [INAUDIBLE] classes, and maybe there’s some
meditation sessions happening. Things where you can
join other people. Little things, it sounds funny. Put it in your schedule. Put it in your calendar. Let it pop up. Oh. Like if you know that
tomorrow probably around 3:00 PM you might have
time, just put it in. If it doesn’t happen,
at least it reminds you. And put it on a daily repeat. Just let it every
day to remind you. These are the simple
techniques we can do. And I think having other
like-minded association is really powerful. AUDIENCE: Yeah. I like the idea of doing
it with other people. I think the notion of
putting it on your calendar is something that I’ve
tried, and I just ignore it. And I feel like it’s just like
one more thing on my calendar. You know, and I’m like, oh– GADADHARA PANDIT: If
you schedule something on your calendar, you
might not show up. Yeah. I think finding a
group of people, and it seems like there’s
a lot of diversity here on this campus. Maybe you could find a group
of people that can help you. I know, I think Jess connected
with some meditation groups here. You can check with him
and see what’s going on. If you were in New York, I could
help you out a little bit more. AUDIENCE: I agree with
everything that you’ve said. and I do a lot of yoga,
and I try to meditate, and I’m practically vegan. So I agree with
all of this, but I feel like there’s
been a lot of research recently on how
to quiet the mind, but there hasn’t been a lot
of why is the mind this way. Because for– I think
one of the reasons humans survived against
bigger, scarier animals is because we are so smart,
because our brains are so powerful. And it’s true that right
now they’re in overdrive. We don’t need our brain to–
we’re not surviving anymore. As you said, in the hills of
California, land of plenty, we should be relaxed,
and we’re not, because our brains
are built this way. But have you come across
any kind of books or studies on the positive of the
brain being overpowerful basically for its purpose? Or the benefit of
having a big brain? GADADHARA PANDIT: Well,
you know, the mind is an active thing. You can never really
fully quiet the mind. It’s almost impossible with
all the stuff going in. And the thing is
that all that energy can be directed toward
something positive. It’s like you have
a very active child. It can either be destructive. It could be productive
and creative. It all depends on
how you engage it. So if using all
that energy, if you like a challenge in
your life, challenge yourself to meditate every day. Why the mind’s like that? That’s hard to say. It just is. That’s how we got it. We all came with
an overactive mind, and now our goal is once we
make the mind our friend, then it can actually
help us become so much more productive, even
much nicer people to be around. So it’s just utilizing
it in a positive way. Again, that for me means
more meditation and things like that, and then helping it
through proper eating things, because all the food that
we eat affects our mind. It’s a relationship. So I think just utilizing
it in a positive way. I don’t know if there’s
research done on this or not. Maybe there is. But I think just utilizing,
channeling energy into more positive activities. Well, thank you all
very much again. It was a pleasure being
here with all of you. [APPLAUSE] My name Gadadhara Pandit
Das, and the name of the book is “Urban Monk– Exploring
Karma, Consciousness, and the Divine.”
when most people think of what a monk
is, the first thing that comes to their minds
is mountain peaks, forests, a beautiful monastery
in the middle of nowhere. I live surrounded by
nightclubs, bars, tattoo shops, laundromats, subway stations,
bus stations, and nonstop foot traffic. A lot of monks do
live in the city for the purpose
of helping others find a more balanced
way to live. Every day I’m
talking with people. I work as a religious
life adviser or chaplain, and part of that responsibility
involves talking to people, listening to them,
listening to their problems, helping them come up with
solutions to their problems, helping them lighten the
load of all the difficulties that they’re going through. I didn’t write the book with
the idea of publishing it. It started as a
journal, because I wanted to reflect
on my own life. I decided to turn my
journal into a book, because I thought maybe that me
sharing my story would inspire others to, perhaps, also turn
towards your spirituality in difficult times. The book goes through my
own journey growing up in Southern California
where my parents lose their multi-million
dollar business, which forces us to move
to East Europe. Being so uprooted from
my society and my culture and my lifestyle
that I had in LA, it was a very difficult
time, a very uncertain time. And so I decided to explore
the Bhagavad Gita, one of the main spiritual
texts of India to understand why all
this is happening to me. Why am I suffering so intensely? And at that moment, the
Bhagavad Gita really gave me the answers
that I was looking for. It gave me solace. It actually gave me hope. A lot of times when people
go through difficulties in their lives, we
just become fixated on trying to fix the problem. Find a quick solution,
so the suffering goes away, so the
pain goes away. However, that’s
not really getting to the core of the problem,
which is deep within side. One of the things I
try to help people understand is the
nature of their own mind and that if we can
actually nourish the mind, feed the mind
through meditation, and exercise the mind–
because when you meditate, the mind wanders, and you know
that it just went somewhere. Then you have to bring it
back, and that bringing it back is an exercise. It’s like I like to think of
it as pushups for the mind. What I’m really
hoping is that people will be inspired
through this book to give their spirituality
a serious chance not only when
they’re struggling, but when things are good also. Just to keep it as much
a part of their life as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make spirituality a part
of the everyday experience.

5 thoughts on “Gadadhar Pandit: “Stress Management for Work-Life Balance” | Talks at Google

  1. A great talk about stress management. I have read his book too. It is very inspiring. Here is the link to his book:

  2. Anxiety, insomnia, muscle tension, fatigue, high blood pressure, and even anger are medical conditions. i've viewed what alternative did for Steve Jobs. Kevin Trudeau wrote books and many have written books yet the conditions still exist.
    slayerwulfe cave 

  3. Another bla bla bla Hindu techniques for balance life ..First Hipocrit part of sanscrit is when start …the word of all sanskrit mantras OM can be I or can Be god …lol yes ..tell me more …I cant belive in any word …show example soo ..India is the most poor Habitant per habitant country in this earth because that people poor is soo slave to fight  ..Vedas dont give U nothing in this times ..sorry is a fact 

  4. This was a very enjoyable talk with a lot of practical, well-researched advice. It was very useful and at the same time entertaining. 

  5. very good video covers good points…I also found useful for how to reduce stress
      was Enlarbo Stress Science Wizard you can search on google which would offer awesome solutions and provide stress management for life

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