coping mechanisms

Ethics Staff Tried Group Meditation to Cope With ‘Chaos’ of White House

Walter Shaub. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The never-ending scandals and pure, unmitigated chaos of the Trump White House is stressful for everyone, but especially for the Office of Government Ethics, the people whose job it is to prevent conflicts of interest in an administration that seems to live for conflicts of interest. To cope with the pressure, some members of the OGE would get together once a day to meditate, former director Walter Shaub told CNBC.

“We weren’t prepared for the chaos in this administration,” said Shaub, who resigned as director in July 2017. “We weren’t prepared for the assault on us.”

When he noticed how overwhelmed his staff seemed by the amount of work they had, and the friction with the new administration, Shaub suggested that those who were interested could get together once a day for a ten-minute meditation using the app Headspace.

“It kind of made us strong in weathering a very tumultuous storm at the time,” he explained. “Of the ones who came regularly, they loved it, and we all seemed to hunger for it.”

“Afterward, people felt like, ‘OK, this is still miserable in what we’re going through, but we can get back into the ring for another round now.”

OGE staff weren’t the only ones who turned to meditation after Trump’s election. According to Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder of Headspace, the app saw a “staggering uptick” of downloads in the two months after the election, adding that “there was a 44% spike in that post-election week.”

Group meditation practice has apparently waned since Shaub left. Maybe now they’ll cope by “icing” each other like some of their colleagues.

Ethics Staff Used Meditation App to Handle White House Chaos