Mindfulness in the Workplace

November 24, 2021 Hector Santana

Running a business can be a stressful situation. This worry and tension can result in a diversity of negative effects including but not limited to occupational difficulties , burnout, anxiety, depression, and cardiovascular problems like an elevated risk of heart attacks. These effects on the individual can lead to effects on the organization such as low productivity, absenteeism, and high turnover. In moderating the damaging effects of stress and tension to employees and organizations, psychology presents us with various strategies including mindfulness.
The American Psychological Association defines Mindfulness as an awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings. In practice, it can be described as “training your attention to achieve a mental state of calm concentration and positive emotion”. In essence, Mindfulness is a strategy, akin to meditation, that helps individuals live in the moment, separating themselves from past and future, from opinion and judgements, and just be; a very intentional awareness of the present moment in a non-judgmental fashion.

Benefits of Minfulness

The benefits of practicing mindfulness are long, plenty, and have been confirmed by numerous scientific studies. The Psych Professionals, a group of practicing psychologists from Australia, mention as benefits: a reduction in rumination, reduction in stress, decrease in anxiety, increased focus, and higher relationship satisfaction. Forbes adds to this list a reduction in prejudice, improved cognition, better collaboration, and better memory, amongst others.
From a neurological standpoint, mindfulness has been able to show real changes in the brain. Some of the noticeable changes that have been identified in relation to mindfulness are changes in the function of the medial cortex, the insula, and the amygdala. Validating this information, further research indicates several measurable changes in the brain in relation to mindfulness practices.
As we can see, mindfulness is an effective tool to control some of the negative effects that can arise while managing a business. With all of the benefits that can be obtained from mindfulness, one would think that the practice would be very complicated and would require some professional assistance to use. Although there are therapeutic approaches and other techniques implemented by mental health professionals, using mindfulness in everyday life is not only possible, but also relatively straightforward. Here are a few tips and techniques that can be used to promote mindfulness and its benefits in the workplace.

Techniques to Implement and Foment Mindfulness in the Workplace

Find a Quiet Place

Just having a private, quiet place where employees can go to wind down and collect their thoughts is a good starting point and solid base to promote mindfulness. A safe space away from the noise, the lights, and the overall office environment will provide an opportunity for employees and leaders to focus on the present without the distraction of others. Just a few minutes being away from elevated levels of stimuli and just “being” can reap tangible benefits.
Here in PG we have our own space, away from distractions where team members can take a few minutes to unwind and come back to work fully recharged!

Single Tasking

In modern times, we are used to doing as many things as possible at once. We do this with the intent of being productive and getting things done. Dedicating so many cognitive resources across multiple tasks will significantly diminish the focus one can allocate to each individual task and thus limit productivity. By allowing and promoting employees to work in a single task, all effort and all focus can be directed to one specific task which can greatly increase the chances of success and stimulate engagement and flow. 

Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing is a specific technique related to mindfulness which has individuals in short meditations focusing solely on their breath. To participate in mindful breathing, one would assume a comfortable posture, either sitting or lying down, close the eyes or lower one’s gaze, and simply breathe; breathe while focusing solely on one’s breath while acknowledging but not spending time in ideas or thoughts that might come. The greatest thing related to mindful breathing is its simplicity and the fact that it requires no equipment which means it can be done during a short break at work while sitting. 
This YouTube video by creator Mylife is a guided example of a Mindful Breathing Exercise you can try!

Stay Mindful!

Originating from traditional eastern meditation, mindfulness is a great tool to combat the everyday stresses that occur in the workplace or in life in general. With simple breathing techniques or just a moment away from everything to focus on yourself,  mindfulness can bring a number of benefits that will not only be beneficial for the individual, but for the organization as a whole. Trying mindfulness has no cost and the possible benefits can alleviate a lot of the pressures of everyday life, so; why not give it a try?
Have you ever had any experiences with Mindfulness? Have you heard about it before? Please let us know below and feel free to read some of our other amazing content!

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