When health and wellness expert Dr. Deepak Chopra addressed the opening session at Meeting Planners International World Education Congress (WEC) in Las Vegas in June, he offered a list of things that influence the activity of the genes to create health.
In addition to staples such as sleep, meditation, exercise and eating right, he suggests grounding. Earthing—going outside and touching the grass and dirt with your bare feet—not only feels good: It also has major benefits for your health, he says.
“Think about the environment as your extended body,” he told the 2,500 attendees. Touching the earth allows the negative ions from the ground to flow into each person’s electromagnetic biofield, discharging free radicals and relieving stress and inflammation, he explained.
For the same reason, he hailed the new amenities being developed in MGM Grand Las Vegas’ Stay Well meeting rooms. These facilities include advanced air purification systems and healthy food options designed by Chopra. “What you are seeing is the pioneering of a new way to experience corporate well-being,” he says. “Our brain is changed by the experiences we have. Now you can bring your well-being to Las Vegas in the Stay Well rooms and meeting rooms.”
Meeting Room of the Outdoors
That message about the benefits of taking meetings outside is echoed in IACC’s Meeting Room of the Future report. It finds that in 2016, meeting planners were faced with an increased demand for outside learning spaces and suggested “shaking up the monotony at meetings to increase delegate productivity.”
Jeu Bressers, owner of Kapellerput Conference Centre and Hotel in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, finds that relaxation recharges the brain and fresh air can speed up that process. “You might think that holding a meeting outside, the attendees will be distracted,” Bressers says. “Brain science shows that learning in an unexpected environment, like outside in nature, triggers the release of dopamine to the hippocampus, the part of the brain that creates memories.”
IACC CEO Mark Cooper, who was presenting his paper at the WEC, is an advocate of using the outdoors for refreshment breaks or creating outdoor activities, linked to individual health and well-being. “If you can incorporate the outdoors in evening receptions, barbecues and team building, that is better for everyone,” he says.