Astonishingly, “The average person spends almost half of their time with their minds wandering, usually worrying.”[i] This certainly will not have a positive impact on an employee’s workday, ultimately affecting the company. It’s important to start the day with a clear mind to have continued productivity.
“Mindfulness trains our brain to go to a place of calm and focus so we can be more present in our lives.”[ii] This holds true for our jobs as well. Mindfulness is becoming more and more popular in the workplace due to studies showing increased performance. However, performance isn’t the only driving factor. Mindfulness also improves a person’s health and quality of life, leading to less sick calls and lowered health care costs, overall improving ROI.
Mindfulness is “becoming more aware of where you are and what you’re doing, without becoming overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.”[iii]
Below are some ways to practice mindfulness:[iv]
- Take a seat in a quiet calm place.
- Set a time limit. Start small, like five to 10 minutes and work your way up to longer, if desired.
- Position your body in a stable, comfortable position that you can stay in for a while.
- Notice your breathing. Follow it as it goes in and out.
- Pay attention to your wandering mind. It’s inevitable that your mind will wander, once you notice it, bring it back to your breathing.
- Do not obsess over your thoughts. Let your mind go, but always try to bring it back to your breathing.
A company that fosters a more mindful culture can significantly benefit in many ways. One way is heightened Emotional Intelligence (EI). With better EI, companies might gain more effective management styles, better manager-employee relationships, stronger team dynamics, less damaging rash decision-making, healthier conflict management, and a more positive work environment.
Another benefit of mindfulness in the workplace is enhanced focus and productivity. Employers have noticed with the practice that a mindful team is much sharper, improving stability, control, and efficiency. Distractions are inevitable, but with a mindful culture, employees are found to be able to manage distractions easier.[v]
Historically, companies have been hesitant to welcome mindfulness into their offices. Many have thought of it as a fad, and a spiritual act that no one believed in. Recently, with so many studies showing the benefits and the measurable results of mindfulness, large companies are incorporating mindful activities into their corporate cultures. It’s becoming more and more of a trend. They are scheduling a yoga class or a 1-10-minute meditation break. These simple activities can cut back on stress hormones and ease feelings of fatigue and anxiety.
If a company doesn’t already incorporate some of these activities, it doesn’t mean an individual can’t take a few moments in the day to practice mindfulness. Leave the cell phone in the office and take a nature stroll outside. Observe your surroundings, listen to the sounds of nature. Or during the commute to work, shut off the radio and focus solely on the drive. Let the mind rest and prepare for the day.
With the nature of the work today being 24/7 and always connected, mindfulness breaks are imperative for an individual’s and organization’s success. Limiting distractions, increasing productivity, lowering stress, improving health, are all huge benefits that no one person should ignore, and they are all within reach if you are mindful enough about them.