You probably know that mindfulness gives you inner peace, but is it safe for work? You bet. Major corporations are conducting mindfulness programs, and it’s part of the curriculum at Harvard Business School. See how greater awareness can transform your work life.
Benefits of Mindfulness
1. Feel happier. Happiness depends on your state of mind rather than material possessions or external events. You experience more contentment when you stay in the moment and give your full attention to what you’re doing.
2. Live healthier. The advantages of mindfulness aren’t just in your head. Studies show that cultivating awareness can boost your immune system and lower your blood pressure.
3. Strengthen communications. One of the most obvious signs of practicing mindfulness in a group setting is that conflicts become easier to prevent and resolve. As we become more compassionate, we want to cooperate and help others. We listen to each other and speak tactfully and directly.
4. Increase your productivity. In addition to making you feel good, mindfulness sharpens your thinking. Your cognitive abilities grow and you perform better even when you’re under pressure.
How to Encourage Mindfulness in Yourself at Work
1. Meditate daily. Sitting meditation is one of the most powerful ways to train your mind. Start each morning with a short session, and increase the time gradually as your ability to concentrate increases.
2. Focus on your purpose. Ask yourself what makes your work meaningful to you. You might find satisfaction in helping customers or expressing your creativity.
3. Slow down. Take a step back when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Clear your mind and review your priorities. Pause between tasks so that you start off feeling refreshed. Give yourself time to sort out your options before you respond to a challenging situation.
4. Connect with your senses. All your senses are involved in how you experience your environment. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds in your office. You might want to spruce up your cubicle with a velvet pillow or a jar of cinnamon sticks to create pleasant textures and scents.
5. Ring a bell. Naturally, your mind may start to wander while you’re attending staff meetings or filling out expense forms. Create a trigger that will remind you to focus. If a bell is too noisy, post an inspiring picture on your wall.
6. Seek instructions. Meditating may come naturally for you, but many practitioners find it helpful to receive teachings. Read a book or sign up for a class.
How to Encourage Mindfulness in Others at Work
1. Respect differences. Some of your colleagues may have been meditating for years, and others may be reluctant to try. Accept that each individual needs to find their own path.
2. Provide inspiration. Setting a positive example may be the most effective thing you can do. Let your actions speak for themselves.
3. Answer questions. As your mindfulness develops, you may discover that others want to know your secret for staying calm and cheerful. Share your insights and practical tips for how to start a practice. Offer lists of books and websites that you find helpful.
4. Talk with your boss. If you think your boss or human resources department would be receptive, suggest establishing a mindfulness program at your company. It could be as simple as gathering in the conference room before work to sit together in silence for a few moments.
There’s a good reason why companies like Google and General Mills are incorporating mindfulness into their company culture. Greater awareness enhances individual happiness, and the bottom line. For greater peace and productivity, practice mindfulness at work, and share your positive vibes with your colleagues.