From Silicon Valley to Canary Wharf, mindfulness at work is fast becoming a regular fixture on the corporate wellbeing agenda. Requiring no more than a quiet and comfortable space, mindfulness meditation is one of the easiest workplace wellbeing initiatives to implement. Yet the popularity of mindfulness at work goes far beyond it’s simplicity to set-up. Drawing on our decade of experience delivering mindfulness at work classes and workshops, we share our thoughts on the popularity and staying power of mindfulness in the workplace.
It helps us de-stress
With the overwhelming majority (79%) of UK adults feeling stressed at least one day a month and 1 in every 14 people (7%) in the UK saying they feel stressed every single day (source), it’s safe to say stress is a prevalent feature in office life. Particularly In the current climate, where post-pandemic overwhelm is rife, there’s never been a more important time to bring more mindfulness in to your life.
Researchers reviewed more than 200 studies of mindfulness among healthy people and found mindfulness-based therapy was especially effective for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Whils another study, specifically looking at mindfulness in the workplace, found that regular meditation reduces stress at work and boost morale.
It makes us better communicators
The neurological benefits of mindfulness have been linked to an increase in emotional intelligence, specifically empathy and self regulation. These are key tools for having productive, rational conversations.
By improving our decision-making (see the study here), mindfulness helps you communicate and respond in a more measured way – choosing smarter choices over rash, impulsive decisions. As mindfulness expert, Mirabai Mush (famous for introducing Mindfulness at Work to the Google office) says:
“Over time with mindfulness, we learn to develop the inner resources that will help us navigate through difficult, trying, and stressful situations with more ease, comfort, and grace.”
It hones our focus
If you’re prone to having multiple tabs open – both physically on your computer and metaphorically in your brain, mindfulness will equip you with the skills to hone your focus on one task at a time. By practicing mindfulness — simply coming back to the present moment over and over again — we can train ourselves to become more focused.
Over time and with a regular mindfulness at work practice, you’ll gradually slow down from flitting between tasks. A study from Ohio State University found that when students multitasked, they felt more productive — but in reality, they were actually less productive. See your productivity soar as mindfulness helps you focus on one thing at a time.
Mindfulness at work can be practiced in many forms
If mindfulness meditation conjures up an image of sitting cross legged, with your fingers in a ‘peace mudra’, think again. Whilst a traditional ‘sitting’ meditation is a popular and beneficial mindfulness practice, it’s not the only way. You can also practice mindfulness at work by:
- Going for a mindful walk: Walk slowly, being aware of every step as your feet make contact with the ground, be aware of each breath, breathing easily, but deeply. Pay attention to all your senses and when your mind drifts from walking and breathing, gently guide your thoughts back.
- Eating mindfully: Avoid any distractions other than eating your food. Eat slowly, savouring the texture, smell and taste and get re-acquainted with the pleasure of eating.
- Being Mindful of your body: Our favourite practice is the ‘mountain meditation’, a perfect way to get grounded if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Stand or sit tall (as if you were an actual mountain), feeling the connection of your feet on the floor or sit-bones on the chair, breath deeply and fully in to every corner of your body. Feel your shoulders drop and facial muscles relax as you exhale.
To find out more about our mindfulness at work workshops, courses and webinars, click here. You may also want to get stuck in to our recommended mindfulness reading list below:
- A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax
- Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.