After twenty-seven years of working in the government and with multiple defense contractors, I can tell you how important it is for the workplace to operate as smoothly as possible.
Here’s a ton of information you can put to work in your workplace starting today.
Can Mindfulness At Work Improve Your Career and Your life? Mindfulness increases your awareness of these destructive patterns within the business, helping you recognize them before they run rampant and completely disrupt the workplace. Mindfulness in the workplace improves employee focus, attention, and behavior in and out of the workplace as new management-based research has concluded.
An August Financial Times article describes the growth in mindfulness in the West and cites General Mills as one company that is making it an integral part of its company culture.
[General Mills] has even begun research into its efficacy, and the early results are striking. After one of Marturano’s seven-week courses, 83 percent of participants said they were “taking time each day to optimize my personal productivity” – up from 23 percent before the course. Eighty-two percent said they now make time to eliminate tasks with limited productivity value – up from 32 percent before the course. And among senior executives who took the course, 80 percent reported a positive change in their ability to make better decisions, while 89 percent said they became better listeners.
You don’t need to meditate for twenty minutes every day to experience the benefits of mindfulness at work.
Would you try something new at work if it meant lower stress levels and a better corporate culture?
Mindfulness has been shown to offer these benefits in the workplace, which is why more and more companies have started to take notice. Aetna opened a Mindfulness Center, while Google and Nike offer relaxation rooms designed just for meditation.
- Enhanced decision-making capabilities for strategic planning
- Effective communication skills centered around compassion and empathy
- Stronger teams and leaders through reduced egos and collaboration
- Superior creativity and innovation as the mind becomes focused
- Improved engagement in all related job tasks
- Confidence around a change in the workplace and personal lives
- Greater resilience to rebound from work-related stress
- Positive wellbeing in being prepared for whatever comes next.
Are you ready for mindfulness at work? Try these 5 mindfulness tips from Adriana Girdler from CornerStone Dynamics to feel more in control of your everyday work life.
Mindfulness at Work – How to be Mindful at Work Tips
5 Tips To Being Mindful in the Workplace: How To Be More Mindful At Work Mindfulness in the workplace – it’s a great idea, but how do we implement it at work? This is great information on how to practice mindfulness techniques at work and in your daily life.
Mindful meditation at work has proven to help reduce stress and deal more effectively with change.
An office is a place where you’ll find an abundance of both. Work is where you spend most of your time. If you’re stressed out at work, this will affect you psychologically, physically, and impact other areas of your life such as relationships and overall happiness.
Work-related anxiety is known to cause headaches and insomnia. If it persists, it can cause high blood pressure, depression and weaken your immune system. To add to the problem, many people suffering from work-related stress resort to unhealthy means of coping, such as smoking, binge eating, alcohol, and even abuse of those closest to them.
How negativity ruins your professional life and your career
The ability to control our responses to others is critical at the office. It’s a bad idea to tell the boss off, and annoying your co-workers will only add more stress.
When we are aware and in control of our emotions, we are more able to suppress improper, aggressive responses and reactions. When we are in a problem-solving environment, such as work, it is crucial that our brain remains in an open, resilient mode instead of getting bogged down by negative thoughts and feelings.
Dealing with daily change and pressures is a necessary skill for high-level performance and consistent inner calm, and mindful meditation can make work an interesting challenge instead of an emotional hazard zone.
Embracing mindfulness for better performance in your company
The good news is that many companies are starting to embrace mindfulness and are organizing on-site meditation programs.
If your company doesn’t have a program, you can still engage in mindful meditation.
Short breathing meditations can be done at a desk and can quickly shift your mind to a problem-solving stance instead of panic mode.
A number of well-known companies have implemented mindfulness programs for their employees. For example:
- McKinsey & Company
- Deutsche Bank
- Procter & Gamble
- Astra Zeneca
- General Mills
When work pressures become overwhelming, use mindful meditation to keep yourself in a calm zone. All kinds of ideas may be flowing through your mind. “My report isn’t good enough.” “The boss will fire me.” Your mind is scattering into all kinds of areas except focusing on the report.
As you take control and change those intruding thoughts, it will be easier to approach the problem in a more productive way. Tell yourself two reasons why the situation won’t be as bad as it appears. Then, give yourself two ways of dealing with a worst-case scenario. If the boss really does hate the report, what actions can you take to resolve the problem? Instead of merely reacting, you are proactively seeking solutions.
A quick mindful meditation at your desk, or away from your desk, when necessary, will have immediate soothing consequences. If possible, practice the Happy Place Meditation, as it is excellent preparation for facing adversity. Instead of remaining overwhelmed by what the boss may do, you will be prepared to listen mindfully to what is being said and form a more reasoned response.
How you can practice mindfulness at work today
Many of us don’t listen carefully when we are upset. We are too busy preparing your reply. To really listen and hear what is being said, look into the speaker’s eyes. Keep your mind focused on what is being said instead of thinking about how you will answer. It’s all too common to talk without thinking and say things that we wish we could take back.
Mindful listening improves how we communicate with others. You hear the words and the intent behind the words. When people notice that you are genuinely paying attention, they are far more likely to listen to what you have to say.
More mindful actions you can take at work:
1. Before leaving for work in the morning, tell yourself that you will remain calm and mindful. This will set the tone for the day before you leave the house.
2. Become aware of how your thoughts add to your stress. Expecting things to go wrong will also set the tone for the day, although in a very negative way.
3. Have lunch with a friend or eat alone instead of lunching with co-workers. Getting away from the office, whether physically or mentally, can relieve work-related anxiety.
4. Take regular mindful breathing breaks.
Mindful meditation and co-workers relationships
Relationships are confusing and can bring out the worse behavior in anyone. Whether it’s your family, a date, friend or co-workers, even good relationships present constant challenges.
One of the reasons relationships turn problematic is that many of us remain unaware of the other person’s needs. We tend to be more focused on what we want. We have discussed the importance of self-awareness. However, when there are other people in our lives, we need to extend awareness to them, as well. If we don’t, we will find ourselves engaging in a constant struggle for power.
The standard advice for relationship problems is to “work on the relationship,” usually with a counselor. While this can certainly be beneficial, it is also crucial that we overcome our own insecurities and become more loving and understanding toward our partner. We need to work on ourselves.
How Mindful Meditation Nurtures Healthy Relationships
When we are in conflict with another person, especially a loved one, we are more likely to be talking and expressing our grievances instead of listening. We’ve already discussed the importance of mindful listening. It’s the basis of any important relationship. When we just hear words, we quickly label and file them away without being aware of what is really being said. We’re too busy framing a reply to really “get” it. This leaves the other person frustrated and unheard.
Imagine your spouse telling you, “You forgot to pick up the dry cleaning as you promised.” What you hear is, “You’re too stupid to be trusted with a simple task.” Instead of mindfully listening to what is being said, you react to the unspoken words. “All you do is become a nag!” We are wired for a “fight or flight” response. For cavemen, it was a matter of survival. For us, thankfully, there are other options.
To quote Tibetan lama Jamyang Khyentse, “We think that we have successful communication with others. In fact, we only have successful miscommunication without being aware of it.”
Instead, of blindly responding, take a deep breath. Think about what you’re going to say instead of reacting with the first thought that enters your mind. Consider how your words will affect the other person. Make a conscious choice to use a normal tone of voice instead of attacking.
When you engage in a more mindful conversation, you eliminate many misunderstandings that can damage a relationship. Mindfulness is always non-judgmental.
Most of us yearn to improve our relationships. Mindful meditation helps us clear our minds so that we are able to listen without judging and embrace kindness to avoid confrontations.
The next time you are tempted to engage in a confrontation with someone, simply stop. Become aware of any tension developing in your body. Is your breathing becoming shallow? Is your heart pounding? Are your muscles tensing? Simply notice without the need to judge or condemn.
Now, breathe into the tension. Focus on your right hand as you make a fist. Imagine the tension flowing into your hand. Now, open your first and release the tension.
Do this regardless of what the other person is saying or doing. Forget about proving that you’re “right.” Simply focus on your body. It only takes seconds, but in those moments, you have shifted your awareness to your anxiety and have chosen not to react but to remain in focused control instead.
Becoming more mindful can have a tremendously positive effect on your relationships.
How mindful meditation creates our happiness
We all want to be happy. It’s our natural condition. It used to be believed that our capacity for happiness is innate. We’re born with a certain happiness threshold, and that was the baseline. There is evidence that circumstances may raise or lower your baseline, but that it will eventually return to the original level.
For example, when someone experiences something exciting, such as receiving a much-wanted gift or a dream vacation, the happiness meter rises immensely for a while, then naturally levels off. These bursts of occasion positivity really don’t affect the overall quality of our life. In the case of severe grief, our natural happiness level may plummet, but, eventually, it will return to the normal level. Neither extreme joy or extreme grief has a permanent effect on our happiness. Does that mean that we cannot enhance our happy state?
Gratitude equals happiness in everyone
Before we discuss meditation, it is important to point out that our basic level of happiness consists not of some single circumstance. Instead, it’s the small, daily joys that elevate our mood … a beautiful sunset, lunch with a friend, a good book all have the power to raise our spirits. We need to become aware of these mood elevators and consciously pursue them. It’s important to savor those moments and give gratitude for the experience. Happy people make a deliberate decision to pursue these moments.
When it comes to moods, researchers have long focused on the negatives, such as depression and anxiety. It’s as if happiness isn’t worth studying. But that is changing.
Mindful meditation has proven to cultivate happiness
Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin has spent considerable time studying Tibetan monks. More recently, he followed employees taking part in an eight-week mindful meditation program. The results of Dr. Davidson’s findings show that, in all cases, a program of mindful meditation can elevate a person’s mood.
You needn’t be a monk to reap the benefits. Following the meditation program, participants reported enhanced positive moods and decreased negative feelings. New research has found for about 50 percent of our baseline mood level is derived from genetics. Ten percent of our mood depends on circumstances, good or bad. That leaves 40 percent of our mood in our control. Happiness is something we can consciously cultivate and grow. This is very exciting news, indeed.
Mindful meditation has proven to be a solid foundation on which to build positive emotions, along with savoring all of life’s small pleasures. However, the emotions of shame and anger can be a tremendous barrier to our happiness.
Action step: How you can meditate for happiness
To let go of those negative feelings, do the following forgiveness meditation:
Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and practice mindful breathing for 5 minutes.
Allow thoughts, words or images of someone you can’t forgive yourself to surface in your mind. It can be someone you’ve hurt, and you have regretted your actions ever since.
Let your mind wander to how much you cared for this person and the pain that you caused. If you are remorseful, feel those emotions. Accept what happened in the past. It is done. It is time to forgive yourself.
In your mind, think, “I forgive myself. I have made mistakes and caused pain, either deliberately or not. I am not the same person. I have learned much from life. It is time for me to move on. I forgive myself. I am ready to let joy back into my heart.”
Feel free to use words appropriate to your situation. This exercise will lift the burden from your heart and allow the feeling of happiness in its place.
If you feel bitter toward another person who has caused you pain, do the same exercise, but change the word “I” to “You.”
How does mindfulness help at work? In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Practicing mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety and conflict and increase resilience and emotional intelligence while improving communication in the workplace.
How do you meditate before work? For better or for worse, the way our mornings unfold has a tendency to impact the rest of our day. This is why starting your morning with a short mindfulness practice can have such positive lasting effects throughout the day, says Michael Apollo, the director of the University of Toronto’s applied mindfulness meditation program.
- Commit to just 2 minutes a day. Start simply if you want the habit to stick. …
- Pick a time and trigger. Not an exact time of day, but a general time, like in the morning when you wake up, or during your lunch hour. …
- Find a quiet spot. …
- Sit comfortably. …
- Start with just 2 minutes. …
- Focus on your breath.
How can I be mindful at my desk? Most of us spend a great deal of time sitting behind our desks, or in conference rooms or colleagues’ offices, so having a short practice that helps you relax while at work can be beneficial. What I call the desk chair meditation gives you a way to incorporate short mindfulness practice into your day.
- Keep a clear desk. Work on one thing at a time. …
- Limit email and cellphone checking. …
- Take regular breaks. …
- Notice your environment precisely. …
- Do a body scan. …
- When others speak to you, listen intently. …
- Set an intention. …
- Eat lunch mindfully.