Careers

Marc Benioff, Oprah and 3 other business leaders say this habit is key to their success

Marc Benioff, CEO of SalesForce.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Marc Benioff, CEO of SalesForce.

Studies show that meditation can help reduce stress, increase focus and boost memory retention. So, it comes as no surprise that some of today's most successful business leaders rely on this practice to help them thrive in their careers.

Many CEOs and executives like Marc Benioff and Arianna Huffington have made meditation part of their daily routine. Some leaders have even implemented workplace programs that teach their employees how to turn the practice into a daily habit as well.

Here are some of the highly successful people who use meditation as their main strategy for managing workplace stress:

1. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff, CEO of SalesForce speaking the 2018 WEF in Davos, Switzerland.
Adam Galica | CNBC
Marc Benioff, CEO of SalesForce speaking the 2018 WEF in Davos, Switzerland.

In 2005, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told the San Francisco Gate that he first started practicing meditation when he was an employee rising through the ranks at Oracle. He said that as someone who has always been interested in "keeping a clear head," meditation helped him to relieve some of the stress he was going through at the time.

"I also started a yoga practice at the same time," he said. "We do have a yoga class at Salesforce.com for our employees twice a week."

When asked recently by The New York Times how mediation has influenced his leadership style, Benioff said the practice has helped him to maintain an attitude that allows him to listen closely before making any decisions.

"Having a beginner's mind informs my management style," he says. "I'm trying to listen deeply, and the beginner's mind is informing me to step back, so that I can create what wants to be, not what was. I know that the future does not equal the past. I know that I have to be here in the moment."

2. Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington recently spoke with CNBC about the importance of self-care.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Arianna Huffington recently spoke with CNBC about the importance of self-care.

Arianna Huffington says that she starts every morning with 20 to 30 minutes of meditation. She tells Lifehacker that following sleep, mediation is the biggest and most effective tool for productivity and performance.

For anyone who wants to get into the habit, she recommends downloading an app called Silo or Thrive Global's app, which she says allows you to "disconnect from the world and connect with your own thoughts."

3. Panda Express founder Andrew Cherng

ARC0006699_109,Panda Express Founders 203
Bob Riha Jr | Getty Images

In 2008, Panda Express founder Andrew Cherng told Forbes that he practices meditation regularly and encourages his staff to invest in self-improvement habits by meditating and picking up hobbies they enjoy. In fact, he says, he even stopped a meeting once to encourage a stressed out manager to meditate in order to reduce his anxiety.

"You can't expect someone to do a good job if you treat them like an object," says Cherng, who credits his company's success to the personal wellness of his employees.

4. Athlete and entrepreneur Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant at the 2017 NACS show in Chicago.
CNBC
Kobe Bryant at the 2017 NACS show in Chicago.

Kobe Bryant tells The New York Times that he was introduced to meditation by former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson.

"Phil Jackson was a pioneer bringing this into sports," he said. "He helped give meditation, and other ways to renew ourselves, a legitimacy for business people and macho guys, who tended to identify it with New Age-y, flaky stuff. Suddenly, meditation became performance enhancement, as well as part of the journey of discovery."

5. Billionaire entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey
Getty Images | Fred Watkins
Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey, who is worth $4 billion, has spoken openly about her meditation practice and the impact it has had on her life. On her website, she describes herself as being a "big proponent of formal meditation," and encourages everyone to find time in their day to be still and present with their thoughts.

If you do this, she says, you will decrease your chances of being impacted by the negative influences and stresses of the world.

"The outside world is constantly trying to convince you you're not enough," she writes. "But you don't have to take the bait. Meditation helps you resist."

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss: Study: Meditating can help you focus and keep your brain young