Our careers pay the bills, occupy countless waking hours and can even give meaning to our lives. Our jobs can also be a source of considerable stress: tight deadlines, long days and difficult conversations. No matter what your industry, work can be anxiety-provoking. Mindfulness can help. In recent years, small startups and large corporations, like Google and Nike, have started teaching mindfulness in the office.
Whether or not your company does have such offers, there are simple ways to reduce the impact that workplace stress can have on your mind and body.
Here’s a guide to get you started.
What is mindfulness?
The Present Moment – paying attention to the present in an accepting, nonjudgmental way. It is a simple practice available to all. Research has shown that mindfulness can be a reliable strategy for reducing stress, in all aspects of life, including work.
There are many ways to cultivate mindfulness at work, from walking during the day to taking purposeful pauses when eating. One of the most consistent ways is easy meditation.
In the simplest of terms – meditation is a way to train the mind. For a lot of us, our minds are constantly wandering. We’re thinking about the future, dwelling on the past, worrying, fantasizing, fretting or daydreaming. The practice of meditation can help bring us back to the present moment, giving us the tools we need to be calmer, less stressed and kinder to ourselves and others.
Workplace stress is becoming increasingly more consuming, with email, intra-office chat tools and virtual meetings. Additionally, social media endlessly competing for our attention and often bleeding into the hours that historically gave you a break. So, it can be especially helpful to bring a mindful disposition to your job.
“We are encouraged in the workplace to be attached to an array of technology wizardry 24-7,” says Janice Martuarno, founder of the Institute for Mindful Leadership. “The information we’re being bombarded with can be anxiety producing and it can create a sense of disconnection that can overwhelm us in our personal and professional lives.”
Mindfulness can help by allowing us to improve our focus. When we constantly switch from one task to another, the quality of our work can suffer. Practicing mindfulness – coming back to the present moment over and over again – helps train ourselves to become more focused overall.
Leading with Intention
A growing number of high-level business leaders, entrepreneurs and top executives are promoting meditation at work as well.
As an example, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff had meditation rooms built on every floor of his company’s headquarters. Twitter CEO Jack Dorset habitually embarks on silent retreats. Oprah Winfrey encourages her staff to meditate twice a day.
These days leaders should look beyond the fun, quirky extras of ping pong tables and other entertaining distractions and also encourage their team members to look within. Being mindful in the workplace may bring advantages to your business that no foosball table ever could.
One pivotal lesson within mindfulness practices is about always living with a beginner’s mind. In essence, this means being open to continuous learning, whether you’re the intern or the CEO. This can be beneficial to both individuals and companies in general. Creating environments that encourage collaboration and creativity, focus, goal setting and healthy work-life balance.
So, if you are ready to make a positive change, will you start integrating these wellness-based values?
Intentionally incorporating these values into the whole of your company can help to implement a culture of mindfulness and wellness into your organization. It’s not some occasional, thrown together event. At a mindful company, workplace wellness is a consistent part of the culture.