The concept of mindfulness seems to be really trendy these days. Of course, the idea is nothing new…but it’s cropping up in some unexpected spots. You’ve likely read about businesses bringing mindfulness trainers into the workplace, companies providing meditation rooms for employees, and offsite retreats being offered to encourage workers to develop better levels of awareness.
But why is this such a big deal, all of a sudden?
Recent studies have shown that the brain undergoes physical and structural changes within even a short period of time after individuals begin a practice of regular meditation. This is a wonderful thing in terms of being able to be less reactive, and notice more details in our surroundings. But do these benefits serve an organizational goal? Perhaps…
Much like business consultants want to ensure that a company is making strategic decisions in line with its overarching business goals, it’s important to understand what benefits an organization might realize from engaging their teams in mindfulness practices. Here are a few of the outcomes that I’ve observed, drawn from the experience of my own clients.
Those who practice mindfulness – in any of its many forms – often feel less challenged when called upon to make a decision. When the mind is less distracted, it’s much easier to weigh options. As well, a quieter mind is better able to review all sides of a question, including what may seem peripheral. This allows for quicker choices, and less second-guessing.
Better critical analysis:
Developing mindful qualities of stillness and reflection enable practitioners to devote mental resources to the complex act of critical analysis. Often, using mindfulness techniques will permit an individual to assess a situation without involving their personal emotions, which will likely provide for a more reliable examination of the circumstances.
Stronger emotional regulation:
Mindfulness is inevitably linked to personal awareness. Self-awareness is a first step in understanding why we do what we do, and how we can be thrown off course when our actions and values are not aligned. This is the keystone to reducing volatile, knee-jerk reactions to stressful or difficult conditions – both in the workplace, and at home.
Those who practice regular mindfulness and meditation habits report that they sense an increased capacity for focus. This improvement continues as individuals spend more time in meditative states. Becoming aware of our thoughts – which is the natural outcome of a mindful practice – is the first step in being able to harness our powers for paying attention.
These are only four of the reported benefits that mindfulness brings, and each could very easily be linked with areas in which a company is seeking to improve and innovate.
Mindfulness at work doesn’t need to be just a fad. It’s a means to an end for thoughtful business leaders.
Submitted: September 9, 2018
Copyright © Lee Godfrey, 2018