[BRW] Corporate Health

Relax more, Indulge less


Encouraging employees to swap the smoke or snack for exercise to ease stress can bring lasting benefits. Report: Emily Chantiri BRW l After 17 years in the legal profession, Anthony Bazouni, principal of Prominent Lawyers knew that something was wrong. Recently a friend of his – a 43yearold property developer – had passed away. It made Bazouni sit up and take stock of his own life.

He says he was successful at work but that there were ingredients missing from his life. “One was balance; the other was learning to work smarter,” he says. “I lacked ‘me’ time, or quality family time. I had the work part right. I’m an accredited specialist in personal injury and a member of a few business associations. But I knew I had to invest more in myself.”

Bazouni says he didn’t just want a life or business coach, he wanted a combination of both, so he went to GCorp Consulting, which specialises in a holistic approach to life and health. GCorp combines the expertise of karate champion and coaching expert Jacob Galea, former police officer and martial arts practitioner Edward Cabello, and business mentor Gino De Pasquale.

Galea, Cabello and De Pasquale have designed a unique coaching system to combat stress that blends ancient martial arts techniques with modern managerial coaching methods. “There are a lot of business coaches out there who only focus on one area,” Galea says. “We look at the mind, body and spirit to combine all three elements in our coaching consultancy. “Eastern philosophies and practices such as martial arts are designed to keep the body, mind and spirit working in peak condition.

“They teach selfcontrol, discipline and balance. A lot of executives are very good at being disciplined about work but when it comes to their health, that discipline can fall away.” He says many executives aren’t even aware they are under stress and ignore symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, mood swings, anger and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Instead they suffer in silence. However, he says you can easily spot people that are under pressure. “Take a look at the front of any office building in the central business district, you’ll find workers trying to manage stress with either a cigarette or a muffin,” he says. “It’s the 3pm sugar hit. It would be great to see this syndrome replaced with people reenergising through tai chi or meditation.”

GCorp’s consulting services extend beyond individual coaching to group coaching. Galea says participants are given an initial consultation and then undertake a program tailored to the individual or the group. “We teach the mental disciplines around mind, body and spirit and take these to the corporate world,” Galea says. The results can be lmost immediate. “I had a client who had very high blood pressure,” he says. “He started to implement a simple meditation technique and two weeks later, his blood pressure had dropped.” The result is staff that are physically fitter, free of mental clutter, energised, focused on achieving their goals, adaptable to change and most important of all, calm in both their personal and working relationships.

It also means a dramatic drop in days off due to stressrelated illnesses that can range from headaches, anxiety and skin conditions to high blood pressure, heart problems and autoimmune diseases. Kate James, a director of Total Balance Group, also advises clients on how to create a better worklife balance. She says some of her executive clients have been sceptical about bringing meditation into their lives but once they have participated in a guided meditation, they want to know more. “I believe passionately in meditation,” she says. “It helps individuals focus and stay calm.

“Some of my clients were initially sceptical but when I asked them what they would like more of, they invariably would come back and say ‘more meditation’.” Bazouni now practises meditation daily along with regular exercise since his sessions with GCorp. “I now park my car on the city outskirts and walk to the office and I regularly attend a gym,” he says. “On the weekends, I’ll take a quick power nap and it makes the world of difference to how I function I even enjoy a glass of red wine with my wife on the verandah.”

joseph ferrone