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Stress Less & Accomplish More with Emily Fletcher

Emily Fletcher is the founder of Ziva, the creator of The Ziva Technique and regarded as the leading expert in meditation for high performance. The New York Times, The Today Show, Vogue, and ABC News have all featured Emily’s work. She’s been named one of the top 100 women in wellness to watch, has taught more than 15,000 students around the world and has spoken on meditation for performance at Google, Harvard Business School, Summit Series, Viacom, Wanderlust Festival & The Omega Center. Ziva graduates include Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony award winners, as well as NBA players, CEOs, busy parents, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.

Emily is the author of the recently released Stress Less, Accomplish More: Meditation for Extraordinary Performance.

This is a topic that a lot of us are struggling with. A lot of us feel the need to be always busy to feel like we’re accomplishing through the day. But is that the case?

In this episode, we have Emily Fletcher with us to talk about what stress is and some simple, yet powerful tips on how to reduce stress so you can accomplish your goals.

"When you give your body the rest it needs it knows how to heal itself."

Emily Fletcher

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  • Stress is the epidemic of our times: Harvard Medical School had said that stress is responsible for 90% of doctors visits.
  • Stress is making us stupid, sick and slow.
  • A single most effective tool to get rid of stress not just in the present but from our past: meditation.


  • Mindfulness and meditation are used as synonyms but they’re not the same thing.
  • Mindfulness: the art of bringing your awareness into the present moment (aspirin).
  • Meditation: giving your body deep healing rest and getting rid of your stress from your past (vitamin).
  • If we have a daily discipline of getting rid of the stress that has been accumulated in our brain and bodies over time, it levels up our performance capabilities and allows us to stress less so we can accomplish more.
  • People can feel overwhelmed without knowing why.
  • By the time the average American is 20 years old, they have over 10 million premature cognitive commitments (PCCs): like an open window in your brain, which will slow you down over time.
  • Meditation: gives your body rest that is 5x deeper than sleep, de-excitation of the nervous system, decreasing heart rate, creates order in your cells to allow a lifetime of trauma to heal and come up and out.
  • When you give your body the rest it needs it knows how to heal itself, but most of us are running around in fight or flight mode taking in more stress.


  • Fight or flight: not useful for daily tasks, makes it hard to be present and enjoy life.
  • Was useful years ago to keep us alive (e.g. to run from the tiger): digestion floods with acid, acid seeps into the skin, blood starts to thicken and coagulate, bladder and bowel evacuate, cortisol and adrenaline spike, the immune system goes to the backburner.
  • These chemical reactions are maladaptive in today’s environment and do not allow us to perform at the top of our game e.g. remembering names, mid-term exams, kids.
  • Meditation allows us to get out of fight or flight and into ‘stay and play’.


  • Neuroscience: in some types of meditation a small part of the brain lights up brightly, whereas in Ziva meditation the whole brain lights up but not brightly—reflects the lazy and slow nature of the practice.
  • Meditation encourages neuroplasticity and strengthens the corpus callosum: builds the bridge between the two sides of the brain, allows you to creatively problem solve.
  • Stress ages the body quickly, but when you meditate you can reverse body age by 8-15 years (depending on the study) and flood the body with bliss chemicals: dopamine and serotonin.


  • On Broadway for ten years: showed up to the theatre and couldn’t remember which character she was supposed to play, the constant stress of remembering multiple roles led to insomnia, illness started going gray.
  • After her first meditation class slept through the night for the first time in 18 months (11 years ago) then left Broadway, went to India for training, opened up Ziva.
  • Pick up Emily’s book hre!


  • People think they don’t have time to meditate and that meditation is a ‘luxury item’: but it should become the most important piece of mental hygiene we practice each day.
  • We need to reframe meditation as the performance and productivity tool it actually is, it makes time.
  • People think they should already know how to meditate—because it’s simple they think they should know how to do it or think it is just ‘clearing the mind’ or having a ‘blank slate’.
  • This sets up feelings of failure because the mind thinks involuntarily, just like the hearts beats — and people won’t do something they feel like they’re failing at for very long.
  • Another mistake is not having a technique that was designed for you.
  • ‘Ziva’ is a Sanskrit word that means bliss and a Hebrew word that means ‘one who is radiant and kind’.


  • We meditate to get good at life, not to get good at meditating.
  • Find a teacher you trust, a technique that works for you, where the return on investment is exponential—make sure it’s making you better at life.
  • You can try Emily’s Ziva.
  • Schedule it into your calendar.
  • Try an accountability buddy: it’s hard to break a promise to someone else. You can also try making a bet with each other.
  • Emily recommends meditation first thing in the morning, then a second time in the afternoon slump time where you might have a snack, coffee or nap—you’ll get a hit of productivity and creativity as if you’ve taken a nap, but without the sleep hangover.
  • You can meditate anywhere, nowhere on the planet is silent—if you’re in an office, you can pop in some headphones with no music.
  • Don’t let Perfect be the enemy of Good, don’t let Good be the enemy of Done.
  • The 2X Breath: Emily’s simple technique, perfect for if you’re having a panic attack, inhaling through the nose for 2 and exhaling through your mouth for 4.
  • Follow along with Emily as she takes us through the 2X breath guided meditation from 15:55 on the podcast.


  • Don’t forget to take a screenshot of this episode, tag us both on social media (@zivameditation & @jimkwik) and share what you’ve learned from this episode with us!


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