A Fresh Approach To Build Leaders

Psychedelic-assisted therapy comes out as the revolutionary finding to alter the mind and improve mental health conditions. Known as a category of psychoactive substances, these drugs are responsible for altering perception, mood, and cognitive functions. In the dynamic world of business, leaders deal with countless mental and emotional distress that affect their professional and personal growth. Following the therapy, it utilises the classic drug psilocybin, also popular as magic mushroom, and other psychedelic-based drugs, such as ketamine and MDMA. While some medical experts find it too risky to implement it for enhancing leadership capabilities, others favour the idea of supporting treatment for anxiety and depression. 

Recently, in 2023, scientist Vidita Vaidya, chairperson for biological sciences at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and Infosys Prize 2022 winner, addressed a lecture in Mumbai titled ‘Serotonergic Psychedelics: ‘Mushroom’ for Discussion’. In it, she highlighted the modern-day debate about using Psychedelics as medicine for anxiety, trauma, and mental health issues. There is evidence of the effectiveness of Psychedelic-based therapy that helps individuals to heal from their mental journey. Like Sehrish Sayani, Director Of Commercial Communications at LA28, who recovered from PTSD through MDMA-assisted therapy, this illustrates the transformative benefits of psychedelics and unlocks a new improvement scope in mental health.

Leaders are surrounded by complex business problems and constantly researching innovative ideas; psychedelic substances can induce a state of consciousness and promote critical thinking. Another argument associated with Psychedelics therapies is that they support emotional intelligence. Indian business leaders and entrepreneurs are more vulnerable to falling for critical depression and other mental illnesses due to their outsized job stress and disrupted work-life balance. 

Recently, Zerodha’s CEO, Nithin Kamath, experienced mild strokes in March 2024. Several reasons followed this situation, including his father’s demise, poor sleeping, exhaustion, dehydration, and excessive workouts. Although the 44-year-old was a fitness enthusiast, he still fell for mild stroke-like conditions, and even his doctor suggested, ‘You need to know when you need to shift the gears down a bit.’ Stories like this create the urgency for healing therapies that help them recover from an emotional and mental breakdown. As fitness alone can’t help, Psychedelic-assisted therapies might help in improving overall health and well-being.

Australia is the first nation globally to authorize the use of psychedelics for mental health treatment. Top universities in the US are interested in planning to set up psychedelic research centres, and investors are pouring millions of dollars into start-ups working towards this segment. 

According to the new research published on Frontiers in Psychology, the use of mindfulness meditation and psychedelics has provided positive outcomes for business leaders. The research highlights that psychedelics lead to the development of key traits in developing psychological health, interpersonal attitudes, and critical thinking. These mind-healing substances impact management and leaders’ ability to act and balance emotions and thoughts. Interestingly, the word psychedelic combines just two Greek words, “mind” and “manifesting.” Some scientists also refer to this therapy as neuroplasticity, whose effects allow resetting thinking and the growth of empathy. Addressing the challenge of leadership burnout, psychedelic therapies might turn a leader’s perspective into a new direction. 

Leaders reflect workforce well-being; self-care with Psychedelic-assisted therapy might lead to the foundation of an overall culture of growth, resilience, and unwavering dedication. To pave the way out, initiatives in India should focus more on clinical tests and further encourage research and development.

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